By Charlotte Caldwell
TRICARE Management Activity
There are often loose ends to tie up before moving. This can be especially true when a family is moving from one TRICARE region to another or transferring overseas. One thing families need to add to the packing list are copies of medical records for everyone who is moving.
Up-to-date medical records are important tools for health care providers to deliver continuity of care, and they are especially useful when patients switch providers. Medical records help providers understand their patients’ medical history for diagnosing conditions, prescribing treatments and avoid potential hazards like allergies or harmful drug interactions.
One tool available to TRICARE beneficiaries is TRICARE Online (TOL). TOL lets eligible TRICARE beneficiaries access personal health data captured during treatment at military hospitals and clinics via the Blue Button. Available Blue Button personal health data includes lab results, notes from doctor’s visits (known as encounter notes), problem lists, and medication and allergy data documented in military and Veteran’s Affairs electronic health records. Individuals can find out what TOL offers them by creating an account at www.tricareonline.com.
Need help to register or use TOL? TRICARE TV has a video tutorial to help beneficiaries navigate TOL and manage their personal health data. The tutorial can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/tricarehealth, look for the “Manage Your Personal Health Record” title.
Beneficiaries should request copies of their complete medical records from their primary care manager (PCM) before moving or switching doctors. Some civilian PCMs charge a fee for providing copies. TRICARE covers the cost of those fees for active duty service members only. All other beneficiaries are responsible for paying the fee and will not be reimbursed.
Once a beneficiary has selected a PCM in their new location, they can request that their medical records be sent directly by mail. Sending medical records by mail could mean a delay in receiving them, and beneficiaries may still have to pay an administrative fee. Not all PCMs will send medical records by mail, so beneficiaries should plan to transport copies of their own records and keep them secure.
Beneficiaries should talk with their PCM about transporting their medical records well in advance of a move. For more information or to register in TOL, go to www.tricareonline.com. For information about personal medical records go to www.tricare.mil and click on Medical Records and Privacy under the Medical tab from the home page.