Military issues call for more providers to serve its Tricare health program
FALLS CHURCH, Va. Concerned about sufficient access to health services for members of the U.S. military and their families, the government is asking more healthcare professionals to become authorized providers for its Tricare health benefit program.
Tricare services 9.6 million active and retired military members and their dependents worldwide, and the Department of Defense says it “relies heavily on civilian providers to supplement the health care provided by military treatment facilities.” But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other factors, have put a strain on the military healthcare system.
In response, the DOD is issuing a call to expand the numbers of private-practice physicians and other healthcare providers that provide services to Tricare members under contract.
“Expanding Tricare’s network of providers is critical to the care of America’s heroes,” notes the DoD, “and Tricare continues to reach out to state officials, medical associations and individual physicians.”
According to the military, the need for more private health contractors is particularly acute in the Washington, D.C., metro area; North Carolina; southeastern and western New York State and New York City; eastern Missouri; west Texas; Louisiana; southeastern Alabama; western Florida; central and southern Arizona; northwest Oregon and south central Montana.
“More and more civilian doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers are accepting new Tricare patients, but access to providers still remains a concern in some locations,” noted Tricare administrators in a statement. That finding comes from the annual DoD survey of Physician Acceptance of Tricare Standard, the agency reported.
Participation in the Tricare program could mean “a large number of potential patients, according to the military. The military health program, added the DoD, “is also an industry leader in claims payment timeliness. Ninety-nine percent of clean claims are processed within 30 days. Ninety percent of claims are processed within 15 days.
“More and more civilian doctors, hospitals and other health care providers are accepting new Tricare patients, but access to providers still remains a concern in some locations,” added Tricare administrators in a statement. That finding comes from the annual DoD survey of Physician Acceptance of Tricare Standard, the agency reports.
Retail pharmacies, for their part, already serve some Tricare beneficiaries under free-choice provisions of military spending bills approved by Congress. The DoD’s call for greater participation in the program could spur increased reliance on those off-base, community pharmacies, particularly for those pharmacy operators that provide expanded clinical and medication therapy management services.
“More than two million Tricare beneficiaries use Tricare Standard, the fee-for-service option that provides the most flexibility for patients to see any Tricare-authorized provider,” the DoD notes.
More information on becoming a Tricare authorized provider can be found at a government website, Tricare.mil/tma/providerinformation.
Kerr innovator to lead N.C. pharmacy board
RALEIGH, N.C. —Rebecca Chater, one of community pharmacy’s leading clinical-care innovators, has been elected president of the North Carolina board of pharmacy for 2010-2011.
Chater is EVP of Kerr Health—the company recently renamed itself to reflect its complete offering; Kerr Drug remains the name of its retail stores—and as such is one of the architects of many ground-breaking patient-care initiatives at the North Carolina retail drug innovator, directing the Care Management service line—previously known as KDI Health Solutions—a healthcare provider organization specializing in preventive and chronic care services.
Chater is in her second five-year term on the board and assumed the role of president for the second time. “It is an honor to serve in this capacity,” she said. “With some measure of national healthcare-reform legislation imminent, it is imperative we, as pharmacists, continue to assume an ever-increasing role in upholding and protecting public safety.”
“In leading the development of clinical pharmacy services within Kerr Drug, Chater earned recognition for Kerr as 2006 Pinnacle Award recipient by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation; 2007, 2008 and 2009 National Medication Therapy Management Provider of the Year by Outcomes Pharmaceutical Health Care; [and] 2008 North Carolina Provider of the Year by the American Diabetes Association,” Kerr stated.
Chater has been recognized nationally for her professional leadership as a past trustee and fellow of the APhA, past recipient of that group’s Gloria Niemeyer Francke Leadership Mentor Award and the APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management Administrative Practice Award. Most recently, she was tapped for the 2008 Eagle Award by the North Carolina Alliance of Healthy Communities.
Novo Nordisk completes enrollment for largest insulin therapy study
ZURICH, Switzerland A population large enough to fill an American college town during fall semester will take part in a multinational study to investigate the effects of modern insulins on Type 2 diabetes treatment.
Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk announced Monday the recruitment of the 60,000th patient in its “A1chieve” study, which it said would be the world’s largest observational study in insulin therapy, involving more than 3,300 physicians in 28 countries on four continents. The company expects results to become available next year.
“Multinational observational studies like A1chieve provide valuable insights in the way current therapies are applied when it comes to varying cultural, economic and epidemiological circumstances,” A1chieve global advisory board chairman and professor of diabetes medicine at England’s Newcastle University Philip Home said.