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Accessing Care at Military Treatment Facilities

Service Member in a hospital bed shaking hands

Source: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade/Released

Military treatment facilities provide emergency and non-emergency care for both physical and invisible wounds covered by TRICARE. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression or any other psychological health concern, you can access services at military treatment facilities to help you cope. This article will help active-duty service members and their families learn about the types of psychological health care offered at military treatment facilities and how to access them.

Types of Care Covered by TRICARE1

TRICARE is the official health insurance provider of the military health system and offers a specific plan for active-duty service members and their families called TRICARE Prime. It is accepted at all military treatment facilities across the country. Depending on the specific facility, you may be able to access the following psychological health care services:

  • Acute Inpatient Care – Short-term, 24-hour care for warriors experiencing psychological health concerns that may be impacting their well-being.
  • Family Therapy – Therapy designed to treat the entire family when a service member is experiencing challenges.
  • Medication Management – A provider manages doses and prescriptions when medication is issued as a treatment option.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program – Treatment setting that is recommended to stabilize a critical psychological health concern.
  • Psychological Testing –Providers administer tests to evaluate a warrior’s psychological health.
  • Psychotherapy – Individual or family therapy where warriors can speak confidentially with a psychological health care provider to discuss and learn to cope with emotional concerns, stress and other challenges.  
  • Residential Treatment Center Care – Therapy that occurs at a live-in health care facility to address substance abuse or other behavioral health concerns.
  • Substance Use Treatment – Support for detoxification treatment, rehabilitation and outpatient group and family therapy sessions.
  • Telemental Health Services – Care provided through video-conferencing sessions for all aspects of psychological health.

Active-duty service members enrolled in TRICARE Prime do not have enrollment fees, copayments or out-of-pocket costs when seeking treatment or care at military treatment facilities. However, you may need prior authorization from TRICARE for some services. For more information on coverage, visit the Covered Treatments section on the TRICARE website.

How to Book an Appointment2

You can use the military treatment facility locator on the TRICARE website to find a facility in your area. Appointments can be booked by calling your primary care manager directly or through the TRICARE Online Secure Web Portal. Depending on the facility, you will be able to either book an appointment online or by phone.

Referrals3

If a primary care manager is unavailable or cannot provide the appropriate level of care, service members may need a referral or pre-authorization to visit a specialist. The primary care manager will work with TRICARE to find a specialist within the military health system at a military treatment facility or a network provider at a civilian facility. To learn more about the process of obtaining a referral, visit Referrals for Specialty Care on the TRICARE website.

Reaching Out is a Sign of Strength

Reaching out for support is a sign of strength. Military treatment facilities are great resources for getting help for psychological health concerns and should be the first stop for care for service members. You can also log on to Real Warriors Live Chat or call the Psychological Health Resource Center at 866-966-1020. Trained health care professionals are available 24/7 to offer free assistance. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 for help.

Additional Resources

Sources

1Covered Treatments,” Defense Health Agency. Last Updated Jun. 17, 2014. Last accessed September 25, 2014.

2Booking an appointment,” Defense Health Agency. Last updated June 17, 2014. Last accessed September 25, 2014.

3Referrals for Specialty Care,” Defense Health Agency. Last updated Apr. 8, 2014. Last accessed September 25, 2014.

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