[HEALTH.MIL] Walk-In Tricare Help Centers May Be Cut In Us, But Would Continue Overseas

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  • Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2013 09:55:47 -0600

Walk-In Tricare Help Centers May Be Cut In Us, But Would Continue Overseas

By Chris Carroll

Stars and Stripes

Published: November 8, 2013



WASHINGTON - The Defense Department is weighing an option to save money by
closing Tricare customer service centers at stateside military treatment
facilities, where contractors provide face-to-face help with questions on topics
such as enrollment and claims processing, but stressed that no changes are in
the works at Tricare Service Centers overseas.

The potential closure of the centers, which serve hundreds of thousands of
troops and their families throughout the United States, is part of a
reorganization of DOD health care administration into the new Defense Health
Agency,  intended to save billions of dollars by increasing efficiency and
reducing duplication of services.

But there's been no final decision to close the U.S. help centers, a defense
official said Friday in an email.

"When the Defense Department announced the creation of the Defense Health
Agency, elimination of walk-in service at Tricare Service Centers was one of the
proposed actions to increase efficiency," said Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col.
Cathy Wilkinson. "However, the plan has not been finalized concerning the
implementation or timing of such action."

Regardless of the final decision, Tricare users based overseas won't be
affected, Wilkinson said.

"I can verify that NO changes to Tricare Service Centers overseas are being
considered," she said.

If DOD moves ahead with closing the centers, they'll be replaced by call-in help
lines, according to plan for the reform of the defense health system the
Pentagon submitted to Congress in June.

According to the plan, call centers would improve customer service and be far

"The Tricare Service Center (TSC) initiative will improve customer service
efficiency by eliminating expensive walk-in service centers located at every
[Military Treatment Facility] and providing greater access to information
through current toll-free call centers and readily available internet
resources," the plan stated. "These options are available 24/7 worldwide and
more than 80 percent less expensive per encounter compared to the TSCs."

The military's consideration of cutting the service centers was first reported
early Friday on the website MilitaryOneClick at



Twitter: @ChrisCarroll_





SOURCE:  Stars and Stripes Article at




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