Military Families

In defense of TRICARE and military healthcare

I can't believe that I am writing this as I have done my share of complaining. . . And as flawed as the system is, the healthcare provided by TRICARE and at MTFs is remarkable.

Ask yourself these questions:

How much is your monthly premium for TRICARE as an active duty service member or dependent? (Before marrying my DH, my premium was about $150/month for just me.)

If you've had a baby, how much did you have to pay for all maternity related care?  (I have friends who are making months payments to pay-off what they owe for maternity care.)

Do you know any military families who have had to declare bankruptcy because of medical care costs?  (I don't, but I know people who have had huge hospital bills and paid nothing.)

If you get your scripts filled at the pharmacy at an MTF, *how much* do you pay?  (Seven years ago, before I married my DH, I was paying $100/month in company's for my maintenance medication--BCP, an antidepressant and an ADHD medication.)

What, you have a pre-existing condition?  TRICARE says no problem.  Other insurances?  Ha-ha-ha-ha!

If your child requires early intervention, how much of the cost do you pay?  (My son received speech therapy, weekly, in our home.  We did not pay a penny.  Others are not so fortunate.) 

 

Sure, TRICARE and military healthcare can be a PITA, but the coverage is expansive.  They require correct coding for things to be covered.  Maybe it's a pain to deal with for a billing department (and the repayment rate is laughably low), but it's the same as Medicare and Medicaid.

For those of you who think TRICARE is crap, I'd be curious to hear how you'd like to be paying hundreds of dollars a month for coverage that is not any better.   

~*~*~*~ Smudges*Mom is Marni~*~*~*~

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Our IVF miracle was born at 41w6d while Daddy was deployed to Iraq.
Marni is a pre-e/HELLP Syndrome and PPD/PPA survivor!
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Re: In defense of TRICARE and military healthcare

  • I agree that it's very nice having full coverage, free healthcare.  That being said, we are going to opt into DH's civilian health care plan next open enrollment because we have been very dissatisfied with both my care and his care.  It will cost about $300/month.  Due to poor care for him, he may end up being permanently disabled.  He works an office job so it's not the end of the world, but frankly it's just inexcusable.  Since this will very likely require additional surgeries we want to be able to get him better care in the future.  I've had a very difficult time receiving adequate care at our OB clinic, and am nervous about continuing to go there due to certain problems they don't seem to be taking seriously. I'm just hoping nothing goes too seriously wrong with the baby before I leave here.  Unfortunately, several of my coworkers have not been so lucky with their pregnancies and the poor care here.  So I get your point, but adequate health care can be worth the extra cost.

    This is the worst place I have been in the military for health care, and I've been in 8 different locations.  I still have an untreated injury from my last deployment and it's been well over a year since I got back.  The lack of treatment is directly related to inability to see a provider or get a referral.  Most other places I've been stationed have actually been pretty good.  Maybe if I was at a better location with better facilities and access to providers my opinion would be different. 

  • I totally agree. I think some people get frustrated because of how slow the Tricare offices are. I've found that being persistent...i.e. going to the office every day...and asking for your referrals is the best way to get things done. I think Tricare is absolutely fantastic. Since we are going to pay minimally for this pregnancy, we are able to afford the extra for a private room.
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  • I agree with you. There are flaws in the system, but overall, I'm extremely grateful we have it. We were in England when DS got diagnosed with primary autoimmune neutropenia. The first year of hospital stays and diagnostics cost well over $50,000. We saw a world-reknowned specialist, and we never paid a penny. Now that we're back in the States, it took a 30 minute appointment to get DS a referral to another great specialist who we can see as often as we need without trouble. Our tricare rep went above and beyond what I ever could expect when we had difficulty with the new hospital's billing.

    "The first time his laughter unfurled its wings in the world, we knew that life would never be the same."
    11.27.09*03.04.11*11.02.12*03.04.13*04.12.13*EDD 01.07.15

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  • Couldn't agree more!
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    10.27.2010
    10.28.2013


  • image Carnation77:

    I agree that it's very nice having full coverage, free healthcare.  That being said, we are going to opt into DH's civilian health care plan next open enrollment because we have been very dissatisfied with both my care and his care.  It will cost about $300/month.  Due to poor care for him, he may end up being permanently disabled.  He works an office job so it's not the end of the world, but frankly it's just inexcusable.  Since this will very likely require additional surgeries we want to be able to get him better care in the future.  I've had a very difficult time receiving adequate care at our OB clinic, and am nervous about continuing to go there due to certain problems they don't seem to be taking seriously. I'm just hoping nothing goes too seriously wrong with the baby before I leave here.  Unfortunately, several of my coworkers have not been so lucky with their pregnancies and the poor care here.  So I get your point, but adequate health care can be worth the extra cost.

    This is the worst place I have been in the military for health care, and I've been in 8 different locations.  I still have an untreated injury from my last deployment and it's been well over a year since I got back.  The lack of treatment is directly related to inability to see a provider or get a referral.  Most other places I've been stationed have actually been pretty good.  Maybe if I was at a better location with better facilities and access to providers my opinion would be different. 

    If you are unhappy with the care you are receiving you need to file a formal complaint with a patient advocate and with Tricare. Tricare takes those claims very seriously and will refer people out so they receive proper care. 

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    CJ 05/29/2013

  • AGREE!! I work in healthcare and Tricare is the best insurance I have ever seen. That being said I have had a couple of bad military doctors. I have had a couple of bad civilian doctors as well. There are bad doctors in and out of the military. That is why it is important to do your research and be an advocate for yourself. Dont like the care you are receiving switch providers. It is that easy. There are a lot of AMAZING military doctors. My current doctor used to be a top provider at the Mayo clinic and i get to see her for FREE!! she even comes in on sunday to see me. I have never had a civilian doctor volunteer their off time to come see me on a weekend. There is good and bad care everywhere but Tricare is an amazing program and has saved my family over 200k in a 2 year period. We are very thankful

    Married 11/27/09 and TTC right away
    Dx: Complete septate uterus with cervical duplication, endometrial polyps, PCOS, endometriosis, hypo thyroid, luteal phase defect
    4 uterus surgeries to correct my complete septum and to remove polyps and 2 years of seeing the RE, medicated cycles and IUIs
    Baby 1 and 2: BFP 3/3/11 with 2 babies EDD 11/1/11, M/C 4/6/11
    Baby #3: 8/11 pregnant EDD 4/27/11 and m/c:(
    Baby #4: 10/12/11 BFP! EDD 6/16/12m/c 10/26/11
    Baby #5: 3/13/12 BFP! EDD 11/25/12 ANOTHER m/c :(

    Baby #6: 2/14/13- BFP! EDD 10/24/13, CP 2/19/13
    Baby #7: 3/15/13- BFP! EDD 11/27/13, another CP
    Baby #8.  BFP 5/19/13 EDD 1/22/14. 8 was not our lucky number

    4th septum resection on 5/31/13.
    Baby #9: 6/29/13 BFP. C section scheduled for March 5th!

    My miracle baby was born March 5 at 9:33am. He was 8 lbs 12.5 oz and 21.25 inches long!

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  • I know a lot of people get hung up on the ordeal with the choosing of your own doctor or getting a referral but there's a lot of civilian insurance out there that will make you jump through the same hoops plus you're paying 250 a month in the case of the hospital I recently worked at. I seriously can't complain because, although the grass may seem greener at times, civilian healthcare offers its own variety of issues.
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  • image Carnation77:

    I agree that it's very nice having full coverage, free healthcare.  That being said, we are going to opt into DH's civilian health care plan next open enrollment because we have been very dissatisfied with both my care and his care.  It will cost about $300/month.  Due to poor care for him, he may end up being permanently disabled.  He works an office job so it's not the end of the world, but frankly it's just inexcusable.  Since this will very likely require additional surgeries we want to be able to get him better care in the future.  I've had a very difficult time receiving adequate care at our OB clinic, and am nervous about continuing to go there due to certain problems they don't seem to be taking seriously. I'm just hoping nothing goes too seriously wrong with the baby before I leave here.  Unfortunately, several of my coworkers have not been so lucky with their pregnancies and the poor care here.  So I get your point, but adequate health care can be worth the extra cost.

    This is the worst place I have been in the military for health care, and I've been in 8 different locations.  I still have an untreated injury from my last deployment and it's been well over a year since I got back.  The lack of treatment is directly related to inability to see a provider or get a referral.  Most other places I've been stationed have actually been pretty good.  Maybe if I was at a better location with better facilities and access to providers my opinion would be different. 

     

    you know you can file complaints and ask to be assigned a new doctor?  

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  • They get complaints here all the time.  It doesn't change things.  Since I'm active duty, no, I can't go somewhere else to be seen.  They make me be seen at one place and they do not assign docs there - you get who you get if you can even get in.  We did change DH's docs twice and his insurance coverage to finally get him referred to a specialist.  The only reason that happened is because we have doctors in the family and got them to diagnose him then we knew what to ask for.  I get it.  Like I said, I understand and appreciate free healthcare.  And I have had civilian insurance and know how the whole referral thing works.  But some places are better than others.  Just wait till they screw up on you or a family member with no repercussions and see how you feel about the free health care system where you never get to see an actual doctor then.  You might feel a little differently. 
  • If you really feel your care is that bad then you can report them to the joint commission. That is the national agency that regulates healthcare, military and civilian. That information is found on signage throughout military clinics and hospitals.
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  • I completely agree!  I feel fortunate to be covered by Tri-Care and have never really had the desire to complain about it, because I knew that while my options for care are limited, I WILL be treated for whatever arises and we don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it.
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  • image Carnation77:
    They get complaints here all the time.  It doesn't change things.  Since I'm active duty, no, I can't go somewhere else to be seen.  They make me be seen at one place and they do not assign docs there - you get who you get if you can even get in.  We did change DH's docs twice and his insurance coverage to finally get him referred to a specialist.  The only reason that happened is because we have doctors in the family and got them to diagnose him then we knew what to ask for.  I get it.  Like I said, I understand and appreciate free healthcare.  And I have had civilian insurance and know how the whole referral thing works.  But some places are better than others.  Just wait till they screw up on you or a family member with no repercussions and see how you feel about the free health care system where you never get to see an actual doctor then.  You might feel a little differently. 

    This is going to sound sarcastic, but I'm being sincere. If shitz that bad, why are you not doing more to advocate for yourself? Keep going up the chain. Get loud about things. Seriously, don't let yourselves fall through the cracks. If your story is as bad as you say, you need to make someone pay attention.  

    "The first time his laughter unfurled its wings in the world, we knew that life would never be the same."
    11.27.09*03.04.11*11.02.12*03.04.13*04.12.13*EDD 01.07.15

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    *~*All AL Welcome*~*

  • I wholeheartedly appreciate the financial aspect of Tricare. But I still think they are a huge mess overall. I've never dealt with an insurance company who gives out such inaccurate or contradicting information.ifyou call three times, it is not unusual to get three different answers.

    I LOVE Standard.  Sure there is added costs,but it is so much nicer than Prime. There is no referral process, which eliminates the time factor that those referrals often take. I think many of their employees just aren't as educated on the benefits as they should be.

     As far as military healthcare goes, my situation is probably not typical overall, but the care I have received in the past was 100% substandard. If a civilian doctor had provided the same level of care as I have received in the past, he or she would have been suid for malpractice or stripped of their license.

    I'll give you one example out of many. I hurt my neck many years ago. I went to my PCM at a MTF. If was told I was too young and there was nothing seriously wrong. Over the course of two years, I saw my PCM 3 more times for the same issue. I finally convinced them to run an MRI, which the referral took a month to process. When it finally went through,it showed multiple herniated discs in my neck. I had a cervical fusion at 24. My surgeon and physical Therapist were both confident that had my doctor taken my issue seriously, I could have done PT and held off the surgery for a good decade at least. Instead,I had a surgery at 24 that most people don't have until they are in their 40s to 50s. I live with pain daily. I complained multiple times to the advocate. I wrote letter after letter, and complaint after complaint. You know what happened? My DH's command was called and my dh was told that I better drop it or his career was at stake. I wasn't educated well enough on Prime vs Standard because when I talked to Tricare,I was advised that the OOP cost would be enormous that most young couples just couldn't afford.

    This is just one of many horrendous experiences I've had with military healthcare. I won't even go into my pregnancy experiences with them, which would just make you sick. I've heard of people who received amazing care. But me? I'll never see a military doctor again. The sad part is that I only go to doctors now if I'm desperate. The anxiety it causes me is not worth it. That fear is 100% directly related to my experience with MTF. I don't trust healthcare providers in general now, and that is a shame. 

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  • image Carnation77:
    They get complaints here all the time.  It doesn't change things.  Since I'm active duty, no, I can't go somewhere else to be seen.  They make me be seen at one place and they do not assign docs there - you get who you get if you can even get in.  We did change DH's docs twice and his insurance coverage to finally get him referred to a specialist.  The only reason that happened is because we have doctors in the family and got them to diagnose him then we knew what to ask for.  I get it.  Like I said, I understand and appreciate free healthcare.  And I have had civilian insurance and know how the whole referral thing works.  But some places are better than others.  Just wait till they screw up on you or a family member with no repercussions and see how you feel about the free health care system where you never get to see an actual doctor then.  You might feel a little differently. 

     

    There actually are a lot of repercussions for doctors in the military who do things wrong or who arent providing medically sound care. I work in military healthcare as an administrator and half my time is spent dealing this this stuff. They do take the complaints very seriously and doctors are repremended, have their pay taken away and kicked out of the military

    Married 11/27/09 and TTC right away
    Dx: Complete septate uterus with cervical duplication, endometrial polyps, PCOS, endometriosis, hypo thyroid, luteal phase defect
    4 uterus surgeries to correct my complete septum and to remove polyps and 2 years of seeing the RE, medicated cycles and IUIs
    Baby 1 and 2: BFP 3/3/11 with 2 babies EDD 11/1/11, M/C 4/6/11
    Baby #3: 8/11 pregnant EDD 4/27/11 and m/c:(
    Baby #4: 10/12/11 BFP! EDD 6/16/12m/c 10/26/11
    Baby #5: 3/13/12 BFP! EDD 11/25/12 ANOTHER m/c :(

    Baby #6: 2/14/13- BFP! EDD 10/24/13, CP 2/19/13
    Baby #7: 3/15/13- BFP! EDD 11/27/13, another CP
    Baby #8.  BFP 5/19/13 EDD 1/22/14. 8 was not our lucky number

    4th septum resection on 5/31/13.
    Baby #9: 6/29/13 BFP. C section scheduled for March 5th!

    My miracle baby was born March 5 at 9:33am. He was 8 lbs 12.5 oz and 21.25 inches long!

    image"">

  • Lissa, I'll say the same thing that I said a few posts prior. You should have contacted someone higher up as soon as you felt you were ignored by the patient advocate. I mean, unless you were rude and out of line they sound like they weren't taking their job very seriously anyway. Also, you may not be able to sue military doctors but, being that my husband is in the medical field, we've seen them be stripped of their rank and their license due to mistakes. I know it may not seem like much to you because its kind of like a consolation prize but our SM's are receiving probably the best care anywhere in Afghanistan. Their survival rate is like 98 and that's more than I can say for a lot of civilian hospitals when it comes to trauma. Those docs are at such high acuity they're probably better than most of the civilian trauma docs out there. I mean, the stuff that they see can't even compare to what a lot of ER's will see in America. So, unfortunately, it's the nature of the military to put less senior medical providers, such as corpsmen straight out of school, in places like OB because its lower acuity and it gives them the chance to learn. Then, every doctor starts somewhere as well and they gain knowledge as they age. It sounds to me like you have just had some really crappy luck and that definitely sucks. I can understand your frustration but the blanket statements aren't really fair either my cousin's step daughter lost the use of her legs this past year due to a doctor not taking her pain seriously and no one has had any repercussions. Crap happens just as easily in the civilian world as it does military but, either way, I truly am sorry you've had the experiences you have.

    ETA: sorry for the missing punctuation and no paragraphs and run on sentences. I posted from my phone.
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  • image Carnation77:

    I agree that it's very nice having full coverage, free healthcare.  That being said, we are going to opt into DH's civilian health care plan next open enrollment because we have been very dissatisfied with both my care and his care.  It will cost about $300/month.  Due to poor care for him, he may end up being permanently disabled.  He works an office job so it's not the end of the world, but frankly it's just inexcusable.  Since this will very likely require additional surgeries we want to be able to get him better care in the future.  I've had a very difficult time receiving adequate care at our OB clinic, and am nervous about continuing to go there due to certain problems they don't seem to be taking seriously. I'm just hoping nothing goes too seriously wrong with the baby before I leave here.  Unfortunately, several of my coworkers have not been so lucky with their pregnancies and the poor care here.  So I get your point, but adequate health care can be worth the extra cost.

    This is the worst place I have been in the military for health care, and I've been in 8 different locations.  I still have an untreated injury from my last deployment and it's been well over a year since I got back.  The lack of treatment is directly related to inability to see a provider or get a referral.  Most other places I've been stationed have actually been pretty good.  Maybe if I was at a better location with better facilities and access to providers my opinion would be different. 

    Why not just switch him to Tricare Standard? Cheaper than $3,600 a year in premiums (the cat cap is $1000) and you can pick all of your doctors just like a PPO.

    The only time I took my own civilian insurance plan over Tricare was when we were doing infertility treatments.  My civi insurance in Maryland covered my IVF cycle. Aside from niche items like that, Tricare Standard is AMAZING coverage and dirt cheap.

    Married 6/28/03

    Kate ~ 7/3/09 *** Connor ~ 11/11/10

    4 miscarriages: 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014

    *~*~*~*~*

    No more TTC for us. We are done, and at peace, as a family of 4.

    "Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” — Charles Dickens

     



  • My MTF doesn't do OB so I was sent downtown. Countless tests, at least 20 highres ultrasounds, over 50 prenatal appointments, an induction, care for two late preterm babies, and I never even saw a bill. I don't know of any insurance that would cover all of that.

    Also, a bad doctor isn't TriCare's problem, it's your MTF's. I've had my problems with TriCare, but I've had several other companies for insurance and TriCare far surpasses them.
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  • image Carnation77:
    They get complaints here all the time.  It doesn't change things.  Since I'm active duty, no, I can't go somewhere else to be seen.  They make me be seen at one place and they do not assign docs there - you get who you get if you can even get in.  We did change DH's docs twice and his insurance coverage to finally get him referred to a specialist.  The only reason that happened is because we have doctors in the family and got them to diagnose him then we knew what to ask for.  I get it.  Like I said, I understand and appreciate free healthcare.  And I have had civilian insurance and know how the whole referral thing works.  But some places are better than others.  Just wait till they screw up on you or a family member with no repercussions and see how you feel about the free health care system where you never get to see an actual doctor then.  You might feel a little differently. 

     

    I must have missed where the op originally said she was active duty. I still think tricare is great but in defense of the OP the care you receive as active duty can be a MUCH different experience than what you receive as a spouse, and complaining isnt always an option without some backlash. 

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  • image Carnation77:
    They get complaints here all the time.  It doesn't change things.  Since I'm active duty, no, I can't go somewhere else to be seen.  They make me be seen at one place and they do not assign docs there - you get who you get if you can even get in.  We did change DH's docs twice and his insurance coverage to finally get him referred to a specialist.  The only reason that happened is because we have doctors in the family and got them to diagnose him then we knew what to ask for.  I get it.  Like I said, I understand and appreciate free healthcare.  And I have had civilian insurance and know how the whole referral thing works.  But some places are better than others.  Just wait till they screw up on you or a family member with no repercussions and see how you feel about the free health care system where you never get to see an actual doctor then.  You might feel a little differently. 

     

    I must have missed where the op originally said she was active duty. I still think tricare is great but in defense of the OP the care you receive as active duty can be a MUCH different experience than what you receive as a spouse, and complaining isnt always an option without some backlash. 

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  • Thank you for posting this.

    I think a lot of people who complain about Tricare have never been on another insurance plan before. They have no idea how much civilian plans cost.

    Standard gives you so much freedom of choice. Unhappy with a doctor? Just switch. I'm 20 weeks and haven't paid a dime for my civilian care.

    DH will be medically retired at the end of this month and we'll switch to the retiree program. More expensive? Yes, but still nothing in the grand scheme of things. I almost cried tears of happiness when I found out he was being retired because it meant our family doesn't have to worry about health care.

    The grass isnt always greener.
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  • image sweetpea2003:
    image Carnation77:

    I agree that it's very nice having full coverage, free healthcare.  That being said, we are going to opt into DH's civilian health care plan next open enrollment because we have been very dissatisfied with both my care and his care.  It will cost about $300/month.  Due to poor care for him, he may end up being permanently disabled.  He works an office job so it's not the end of the world, but frankly it's just inexcusable.  Since this will very likely require additional surgeries we want to be able to get him better care in the future.  I've had a very difficult time receiving adequate care at our OB clinic, and am nervous about continuing to go there due to certain problems they don't seem to be taking seriously. I'm just hoping nothing goes too seriously wrong with the baby before I leave here.  Unfortunately, several of my coworkers have not been so lucky with their pregnancies and the poor care here.  So I get your point, but adequate health care can be worth the extra cost.

    This is the worst place I have been in the military for health care, and I've been in 8 different locations.  I still have an untreated injury from my last deployment and it's been well over a year since I got back.  The lack of treatment is directly related to inability to see a provider or get a referral.  Most other places I've been stationed have actually been pretty good.  Maybe if I was at a better location with better facilities and access to providers my opinion would be different. 

    Why not just switch him to Tricare Standard? Cheaper than $3,600 a year in premiums (the cat cap is $1000) and you can pick all of your doctors just like a PPO.

    The only time I took my own civilian insurance plan over Tricare was when we were doing infertility treatments.  My civi insurance in Maryland covered my IVF cycle. Aside from niche items like that, Tricare Standard is AMAZING coverage and dirt cheap.

    Yes!  I do not understand any of the whining about Tricare.  Especially Standard.  I have the exact same doctors and coverage with Standard that I did when I worked for state government and had their insurance.  The difference is that I basically pay pennies out of pocket now.

    And you know, so what if prescriptions at pharmacies like Target have gone up some.  I don't know what people who don't have to pay $600/month for private insurance are complaining about.  

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  • Completely agree!  

    I too had private health insurance before I married DH & it was not cheap...not to mention co-pays, deductibles, etc.

    With DD2, we discovered at birth she has hearing loss & will require hearing aids for the rest of her life. (and of course, everything that goes with that - ear molds every few months as she grows, speech therapy, etc) It's required tons of testing to determine what she hears, not to mention kidney scans & genetics testing. We've paid NOTHING.

    Hearing aids alone are of $4,000!  Tricare took one look at her charts & approved EVERYTHING. Our MTF doctor has been fantastic - our approvals all took less than a week. It's been amazing.  I will forever be thankful for the wonderful care we're getting her. 

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    BFP #1 - Madeline Rose, born 9/15/2008

    BFP #2 - miscarriage at 12 weeks due to triploidy, D&C in Feb 2011

    BFP #3 - ectopic pregnancy. methotrexate 9/2011

    BFP #4 - Elizabeth Doreen, born 11/2/2012
  • I am on Standard, MH is AD Army so has to be on Prime, and I am considering switching our LO to Standard due to what I feel has been a longstanding pattern of sub-standard military medical care. The only thing that has kept me from switching at this point is that we love LO's pediatrician (but not the rest of the staff, ER) The health of my family is very important to me, and I would absolutely pay more for better care.

    To PP who said that civilian doctors would not come in on weekends to see their patients: I have to laugh! I am a civilian doctor, and I and all of my colleagues routinely work on the weekends. To say that we came in on a weekend to see a patient would be like saying we worked through our lunch; it happens so often that it is not worth commenting on. In my experience, MTF clinics have limited hours, and no appts after-hours or on weekends.

    As a physician, I know, for example, that the standard of care in a pediatrics office is to have a certain number of "sick kid" slots each day, which get filled by children in need of urgent appts, who do not need emergent care in the ER. Our MTF clinic does not have this, and when we call to ask about a sick baby, we're told to call the appointment line, even when we aren't asking for an appt, i.e., calling to ask at what temperature should we bring in our sick baby. We are told that if there's no appt, take LO to the ER. No thank you; the last time I was in the MTF ER with MH, I heard an ER doc tell the dad in the curtain next to us to "google it" when the dad asked whether it was okay to give his son a certain OTC supplement.

    MH was injured in Iraq several years ago. His medical care was abyssmal, and resulted in him having a severe, life-threatening complication that could have been diagnosed by a second-year medical student, yet went undiagnosed as he flew on a plane back to the US not long after having major surgery. I have since gone to yearly physicals with him, heard "flight surgeons" who are not even physicians, never mind surgeons, tell us they had reviewed his medical records, then ask what the 6" scar down his back was from!

    If that is free/inexpensive care, then I'd rather pay.

     

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  • image CK2MD:
    I am on Standard, MH is AD Army so has to be on Prime, and I am considering switching our LO to Standard due to what I feel has been a longstanding pattern of substandard military medical care. The only thing that has kept me from switching at this point is that we love LO's pediatrician but not the rest of the staff, ER The health of my family is very important to me, and I would absolutely pay more for better care.
    To PP who said that civilian doctors would not come in on weekends to see their patients: I have to laugh! I am a civilian doctor, and I and all of my colleagues routinely work on the weekends. To say that we came in on a weekend to see a patient would be like saying we worked through our lunch; it happens so often that it is not worth commenting on. In my experience, MTF clinics have limited hours, and no appts afterhours or on weekends.
    As a physician, I know, for example, that the standard of care in a pediatrics office is to have a certain number of "sick kid" slots each day, which get filled by children in need of urgent appts, who do not need emergent care in the ER. Our MTF clinic does not have this, and when we call to ask about a sick baby, we're told to call the appointment line, even when we aren't asking for an appt, i.e., calling to ask at what temperature should we bring in our sick baby. We are told that if there's no appt, take LO to the ER. No thank you; the last time I was in the MTF ER with MH, I heard an ER doc tell the dad in the curtain next to us to "google it" when the dad asked whether it was okay to give his son a certainnbsp;OTC supplement.
    MH was injured in Iraq several years ago. His medical care was abyssmal, and resulted in him having a severe, lifethreatening complication that could have been diagnosed by a secondyear medical student, yet went undiagnosed as he flew on a plane back to the US not long after having major surgery. I have since gone to yearly physicals with him, heard "flight surgeons" who are not even physicians, never mind surgeons, tell us they had reviewed his medical records, then ask what the 6" scar down his back was from!
    If that is free/inexpensive care, then I'd rather pay.


    I find it extremely irritating when people blame military healthcare for what ever level of care they believe is substandard as compared to civilian care. You, as a member of the medical field should know that there are bad doctors everywhere. There are plenty of well educated, amazing providers in the military.
    image
  • image Sammy0709:
      I find it extremely irritating when people blame military healthcare for what ever level of care they believe is substandard as compared to civilian care. You, as a member of the medical field should know that there are bad doctors everywhere. There are plenty of well educated, amazing providers in the military.

    I as a member of the healthcare field know that while there are plenty of well-educated, amazing providers in the military, the regulations followd by many MTF clinics constrain these providers. I mentioned an example in my post above, where I indicated that while I dislike the "rules" of the peds clinic where LO receives care, we have continued there because I like her pediatrician.

    I as a member of the healthcare field also know that some providers see federal healthcare positions (civilian providers at MTFs, VAs, etc.) as easy jobs, due to the relatively short work-days and numerous holidays. Obviously this only applies to civilians contracted to work at MTFs, not active-duty providers. So while you are correct that there are bad providers everywhere, there are sysrems issues in place at MTFs that attract these bad providers and contrain the good ones.

    Also, a PP mentioned that being persistent, i.e., going to the Tricare office everyday to ask for referrals, is the best way to get things accomplished. I'm sorry, but I don't have time to go to an office in person everyday to make sure the employees are doing their job, nor should we have to. I also know from the healthcare provider side of things that Tricare is terrible at reimbursing claims outside MTFs (both in amount and speed).

     

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  • image Sammy0709:
    Lissa, I'll say the same thing that I said a few posts prior. You should have contacted someone higher up as soon as you felt you were ignored by the patient advocate. I mean, unless you were rude and out of line they sound like they weren't taking their job very seriously anyway. Also, you may not be able to sue military doctors but, being that my husband is in the medical field, we've seen them be stripped of their rank and their license due to mistakes. I know it may not seem like much to you because its kind of like a consolation prize but our SM's are receiving probably the best care anywhere in Afghanistan. Their survival rate is like 98 and that's more than I can say for a lot of civilian hospitals when it comes to trauma. Those docs are at such high acuity they're probably better than most of the civilian trauma docs out there. I mean, the stuff that they see can't even compare to what a lot of ER's will see in America. So, unfortunately, it's the nature of the military to put less senior medical providers, such as corpsmen straight out of school, in places like OB because its lower acuity and it gives them the chance to learn. Then, every doctor starts somewhere as well and they gain knowledge as they age. It sounds to me like you have just had some really crappy luck and that definitely sucks. I can understand your frustration but the blanket statements aren't really fair either my cousin's step daughter lost the use of her legs this past year due to a doctor not taking her pain seriously and no one has had any repercussions. Crap happens just as easily in the civilian world as it does military but, either way, I truly am sorry you've had the experiences you have. ETA: sorry for the missing punctuation and no paragraphs and run on sentences. I posted from my phone.

    I complained to every possible person on that particular base that I could. I was never rude. On the recommendation of my DH's Staff NCO at the time, I even wrote my congressmen. Between the complaints to the advocate and the commander and the letters to my congressmen, my dh was told it was in his best interest that I drop it. I received a letter from one of the congressmen who wanted to do a formal inquiry, and a call from another. I dropped it though because I did t want to negatively impact my DH's career, and hat is exactly where it was headed. 

    I've received care at 3 different duty stations. I've only had one decent doctor in the 3. In my experience, they are condescending and do not provide the level of care a medical professional should give. I'm not a picky person, buti do expect professional, adequate care. I have written formal complaints to two of the MTFs where myself or DS has been treated. Nothing happens.

    Like I stated before, the severity of my complaints are atypical, but it does happen, and 99% of the time, it doesn't matter to the powers that be. There is no accountability, IMO, and that makes me sad.  

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  • image Lissa832:

    image Sammy0709:
    Lissa, I'll say the same thing that I said a few posts prior. You should have contacted someone higher up as soon as you felt you were ignored by the patient advocate. I mean, unless you were rude and out of line they sound like they weren't taking their job very seriously anyway. Also, you may not be able to sue military doctors but, being that my husband is in the medical field, we've seen them be stripped of their rank and their license due to mistakes. I know it may not seem like much to you because its kind of like a consolation prize but our SM's are receiving probably the best care anywhere in Afghanistan. Their survival rate is like 98 and that's more than I can say for a lot of civilian hospitals when it comes to trauma. Those docs are at such high acuity they're probably better than most of the civilian trauma docs out there. I mean, the stuff that they see can't even compare to what a lot of ER's will see in America. So, unfortunately, it's the nature of the military to put less senior medical providers, such as corpsmen straight out of school, in places like OB because its lower acuity and it gives them the chance to learn. Then, every doctor starts somewhere as well and they gain knowledge as they age. It sounds to me like you have just had some really crappy luck and that definitely sucks. I can understand your frustration but the blanket statements aren't really fair either my cousin's step daughter lost the use of her legs this past year due to a doctor not taking her pain seriously and no one has had any repercussions. Crap happens just as easily in the civilian world as it does military but, either way, I truly am sorry you've had the experiences you have. ETA: sorry for the missing punctuation and no paragraphs and run on sentences. I posted from my phone.

    I complained to every possible person on that particular base that I could. I was never rude. On the recommendation of my DH's Staff NCO at the time, I even wrote my congressmen. Between the complaints to the advocate and the commander and the letters to my congressmen, my dh was told it was in his best interest that I drop it. I received a letter from one of the congressmen who wanted to do a formal inquiry, and a call from another. I dropped it though because I did t want to negatively impact my DH's career, and hat is exactly where it was headed. 

    I've received care at 3 different duty stations. I've only had one decent doctor in the 3. In my experience, they are condescending and do not provide the level of care a medical professional should give. I'm not a picky person, buti do expect professional, adequate care. I have written formal complaints to two of the MTFs where myself or DS has been treated. Nothing happens.

    Like I stated before, the severity of my complaints are atypical, but it does happen, and 99% of the time, it doesn't matter to the powers that be. There is no accountability, IMO, and that makes me sad.  

     

    things may have happened but they might not have told you.  MTFs really dont go advertising that they stripped a CAPT of pay and put him on probation..

    Married 11/27/09 and TTC right away
    Dx: Complete septate uterus with cervical duplication, endometrial polyps, PCOS, endometriosis, hypo thyroid, luteal phase defect
    4 uterus surgeries to correct my complete septum and to remove polyps and 2 years of seeing the RE, medicated cycles and IUIs
    Baby 1 and 2: BFP 3/3/11 with 2 babies EDD 11/1/11, M/C 4/6/11
    Baby #3: 8/11 pregnant EDD 4/27/11 and m/c:(
    Baby #4: 10/12/11 BFP! EDD 6/16/12m/c 10/26/11
    Baby #5: 3/13/12 BFP! EDD 11/25/12 ANOTHER m/c :(

    Baby #6: 2/14/13- BFP! EDD 10/24/13, CP 2/19/13
    Baby #7: 3/15/13- BFP! EDD 11/27/13, another CP
    Baby #8.  BFP 5/19/13 EDD 1/22/14. 8 was not our lucky number

    4th septum resection on 5/31/13.
    Baby #9: 6/29/13 BFP. C section scheduled for March 5th!

    My miracle baby was born March 5 at 9:33am. He was 8 lbs 12.5 oz and 21.25 inches long!

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  • image CK2MD:

    image Sammy0709:
      I find it extremely irritating when people blame military healthcare for what ever level of care they believe is substandard as compared to civilian care. You, as a member of the medical field should know that there are bad doctors everywhere. There are plenty of well educated, amazing providers in the military.

    I as a member of the healthcare field know that while there are plenty of well-educated, amazing providers in the military, the regulations followd by many MTF clinics constrain these providers. I mentioned an example in my post above, where I indicated that while I dislike the "rules" of the peds clinic where LO receives care, we have continued there because I like her pediatrician.


    I as a member of the healthcare field also know that some providers see federal healthcare positions (civilian providers at MTFs, VAs, etc.) as easy jobs, due to the relatively short work-days and numerous holidays. Obviously this only applies to civilians contracted to work at MTFs, not active-duty providers. So while you are correct that there are bad providers everywhere, there are sysrems issues in place at MTFs that attract these bad providers and contrain the good ones.


    Also, a PP mentioned that being persistent, i.e., going to the Tricare office everyday to ask for referrals, is the best way to get things accomplished. I'm sorry, but I don't have time to go to an office in person everyday to make sure the employees are doing their job, nor should we have to. I also know from the healthcare provider side of things that Tricare is terrible at reimbursing claims outside MTFs (both in amount and speed).



    I understand that Tricare isn't perfect but honestly it is free health care. They have tons of people to account for and sometimes they need the extra push to make sure that your priority becomes their priority. It's not a new concept in the military. It's not just the Tricare office either that sometimes needs persisting. How many times has your SO needed to go in to get his or her orders cut that was supposed to be done weeks ago? The military is a huge organization and I think they do a great job with the resources they are given.
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  • I agree!  People tell me how it sucks that Tri-care doesn't cover pumps and I tell them, ya they don't cover pumps but I saved thousands of $$$ for everything else they do cover!  I'll pony up the $200-300 for a pump no problem if I'll save thousands for everything else.
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