Moving Patients Back to Military Hospitals Top Priority

Amy Bushatz | | August 19, 2016

Shifting military family members back into military hospitals and clinics for health care is a top priority, the head of the Defense Health Agency said during a visit here Thursday. "All the military services continue to be very interested in the recapture effort," Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, DHA's director, said during a wide-ranging interview with at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. "We feel like the military health system can best take care of our patients," she added. "We want to be there for our patients, so that recapture effort is ongoing and very robust right now."

Tricare Prime, used by about 1.5 million active-duty family members, requires beneficiaries to be assigned to a primary care provider within the military treatment facility if one is available. But if the closest facility is at capacity or the family is pushed into the community for care for some other reason, those families may instead be seen by a civilian provider of base. The Defense Health Agency wants those patients back.

In 2014, the Army and Navy began a plan to move nearly 30,000 Tricare Prime military beneficiaries who were seen by civilian providers near Army and Navy hospitals back in the military system. That effort has since expanded to the Air Force. Through that recapture program, Tricare Prime users who are seen through the system's civilian network are either involuntarily reassigned to a primary care provider within the military system or "invited" back through an advertising campaign. Army, Navy and Air Force officials decide how to move families back into the system based on local needs and space, officials said...