Before we address this issue we want to say our heart and prayers go out to all those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. We know many of us have family that are affected by this, even if we all were not. We are glad to see the world is coming to the aid of Filipinos in this time of need. We also wish the best for the many TRICARE beneficiaries living in the affected areas as well.
In the 2006 TRICARE Stakeholders Report they go on and on about how much they did to assist beneficiaries following Hurricane Katrina where all kinds of rules were suspended to insure veterans and their families got the care they needed and were reimbursed. They even sent representatives to assist beneficiaries.
There were similar responses with the suspension of rules during Hurricane Wilma and Rita and many other disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions including the earthquake disaster in Japan a few years back.
TRICARE even has a Disaster Information Page where you can access specific information on your particular disaster and what rules were suspended and they even post notices in advance of anticipated hurricanes. Note the date and time this page was copied and the listed disasters.
What are they doing for the 11,000 beneficiaries in the Philippines considering the two major disasters that occurred in the last couple of months?
Initial Response to Major 7.2 Earthquake on October 15, 2013
Follow-up Response to Major 7.2 Earthquake on October 15, 2013
Beneficiaries in the Central Visayas were among the millions affected by this earthquake including transportation issues, health issues such as safe drinking water and sanitary facilities resulting in significant increases in public health issues. Hospitals were damaged and closed. Many areas were without power for weeks. Access to health care, certified providers, etc. were totally disrupted; the response from TRICARE and International SOS (ISOS), absolutely nothing.
Four days ago possibly the strongest typhoon or hurricane to ever hit land destroyed entire cities, towns and villages in the Philippines affecting tens of millions of people. All infrastructure is gone in many areas where not one building is left standing; hospitals, pharmacies and clinics as well are gone. Tens of thousands are homeless. As with the earlier earthquake, but on a much larger scale, transportation is limited, banks are gone or closed, safe drinking water is extremely limited as are sanitary facilities and the resulting public health issues will prove to be another disaster reviling the typhoon. The entire world has come to the aid of the Philippines with funds, relief goods and assistance teams; even the U.S. military is on the ground helping Filipinos while TRICARE abandons beneficiaries.
What is the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and ISOS doing to assist the thousands of beneficiaries who no longer can access the internet to confirm that the provider, hospital or pharmacy they use is Certified?
Advance Response to Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013
Initial Response to Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013
Follow-up Response to Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013
See the complete lack of an ISOS response on their web pages as of 11/11/13 0830 hrs. local time.
It has not gone unnoticed that DHA and ISOS have no problems hiring claims processors to assist providers in their failing Demo but can’t find any way to assist beneficiaries during disasters in the Philippines. This clearly demonstrates our second class status.
As a minimum DHA and ISOS should suspend the need to use Certified providers and consider all care in the affected areas for the duration as Emergency Care. Further they should suspend all requirements for providing itemized statements and their double proof of payment requirements. After all it is now public knowledge that even their contractor trained Demo providers can’t convert local bills to the U.S. itemized standard; how can they expect providers working in what is left of health care facilities and know nothing of TRICARE or the U.S. system to do it?
Remember guys, DHA and ISOS always have your back when it comes to providing access to care!