• November 1, 2014

Staffers help soldiers navigate medical care

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Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:30 am

The complexity of the Military Health Care System can sometimes be overwhelming for beneficiaries new to the military or those who are coming from other military installations.

The Beneficiary Services Branch of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center has staff available to assist beneficiaries as they navigate the system in order to ensure they receive the health care they deserve.

Patients arriving at a new duty station with documented special medical needs may experience delays in their treatment program while they are getting enrolled and oriented to new systems. Sometimes this complexity may prohibit patients from receiving coordinated continued care services required for their special medical needs, said Stacy Perez, director of Darnall beneficiary services.

“It’s important for beneficiaries to visit their primary care providers at their current duty station before relocating to Fort Hood to ensure patients who are special needs or who require complex medical care have everything they will need while they are in transition from one location to the next,” she said. “Planning ahead can help relieve some of the stressors associated with big changes like a move.”

Darnall beneficiary services assistants can provide needed coordination for beneficiaries with the goal of helping them receive special medical care in the Fort Hood area.

Beneficiaries with documented complex or complicated medical needs may self-refer by contacting the Beneficiary Services Branch by phone or in person at the Tricare Service Center, said Jessica Etienne, a Darnall health care assistant.

“We assist all Tricare eligible beneficiaries from birth until death or disenrollment. Currently, the staff is working with more than 1,500 beneficiaries.

“We make quarterly phone calls to the beneficiaries who are enrolled to see if we can provide any assistance or answer any questions. We are available to assist, coordinate, advise and direct patients to help them navigate (Darnall’s) health care system,” Etienne said.

Etienne said that while staff members are knowledgeable health care assistants within Darnall’s health system, they are not case managers, nurses or Exceptional Family Member Program staff.

“If you need a case manager or need to speak with an EFMP representative, the Darnall Health Care Assistants can point you in the right direction,” she said.

“The (Darnall) staff in beneficiary services looks forward to assisting you with coordination of medical care in hopes of making your transition to Fort Hood easier,” Perez said.

For more information on the program or to speak with a health care assistant, call the Beneficiary Services Branch at (254) 288-8983/8837 or visit the Tricare Service Center, Building 36023, across from Darnall. The beneficiary services staff is available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. weekdays.

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