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DoD's Other Health Plan Earns Member Praise

By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 23, 1998 – Active-duty family members and retirees and their family members give their health plan high marks.

In a recent survey of 2,475 members, 91.4 percent rated their satisfaction with the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan as "excellent," "very good" or "good." More than 93 percent expressed the same high level of satisfaction with the care they receive.

The DoD-sponsored health care option serves more than 113,000 beneficiaries in 11 states through seven not-for-profit civilian health systems. The plan exists as a designated provider under TRICARE Prime, DoD's principal managed care program. Unlike with Prime, however, retirees and their family members age 65 and over are eligible in all seven of the family health plan's service areas.

"High satisfaction ratings send a powerful message that there is an experienced, high-quality alternative for military families and retirees in areas where the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan is available," said Richard Ward, program director.

For five consecutive years, the plan's satisfaction ratings exceeded the norm for commercial health maintenance organizations. A nationwide 1997 survey by the National Research Corp. found that 85.1 percent of commercial HMO members expressed comparable levels of overall satisfaction.

According to the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan survey, a majority of members rate the plan positively for personal interest taken in patients and their medical problems, the thoroughness of treatment, caregivers' listening skills and willingness to spend time with patients, and care from specialists and pharmacy services.

"The Uniformed Services Family Health Plan is proud to have earned its reputation for high-quality care and to be setting the pace for health care satisfaction among military families and retirees," Ward said. "These excellent satisfaction results reflect [the plan's] experience and commitment to caring for the military community."

The seven treatment centers providing care under the plan are:

  • Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corp. of Maryland;
  • Martin's Point Health Care in Maine and New Hampshire;
  • Brighton Marine Health Center in Massachusetts and Rhode Island;
  • Bayley Seton Hospital in New York and New Jersey;
  • Fairview Health System, a subsidiary of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in Ohio;
  • Sisters of Charity Health Care System in Texas and Louisiana; and
  • PacMed Clinics in Seattle.

The Uniformed Services Family Health Plan offers comprehensive health care coverage, prescription drug coverage and preventive care. The latter includes annual physicals, mammograms, immunizations and well-baby care. The coverage is similar to that offered under TRICARE Prime.

TRICARE's DoD-established access standards apply to the family health plan: Patients must be within a 30-minute drive time of their primary care physician. Eligible active-duty family members can enroll throughout the year; retirees and their family members are offered semiannual open enrollment seasons. For more information, call toll-free (888) 258-7347.

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