42nd Medical Group looks to resolve referral increase



by Rebecca Burylo
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


10/24/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -  -- In the last few weeks, more and more non-active duty patients at the 42nd Medical Group have been referred to other authorized TRICARE-network urgent care centers in the River Region.

The referrals are a result of provider vacancies and newly-staffed providers at the clinic. Without proper staffing, especially in the Family Health Clinic, fewer medical appointments can be made through the clinic.

Colonel Marina Ray, commander of the 42nd Medical Group, said the increase in off-base patient referrals is temporary. She expects the situation to be resolved within the next 90 days.

"We are actively working with contracting agencies to recruit candidates for our vacant positions. Two new active-duty providers are in place and two more are inbound in November and December," Ray said.

Ray explained when there are not enough acute appointments for retirees and their families or active-duty family members, they are referred to another TRICARE urgent care center in the local area.

"The plan is for acute needs of non-active duty patients to be seen by local network urgent care facilities if there is no capacity within our clinic," Ray said. "Active duty personnel will continue to be seen at the clinic for acute health care needs."

She also explained that the clinic determines which of their patients must be seen directly and those who can have home care.

While the clinic works to resolve the current provider situation, Ray urges patients to communicate with the health care team through their MiCare secure messaging accounts.

Also, by showing up to their scheduled appointment, patients can further help the clinic provide for their needs and the needs of others.

"We remain committed to delivering top quality healthcare and meeting our patients' healthcare needs," Ray said.

If unable to make an appointment, patients are encouraged to cancel at least 24 hours in advance so that time may be given to another beneficiary in need.