Thinking About Urgent Care? The Nurse Advice Line Can Help

By TRICARE
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Falls Church, VA, December 15, 2014 - When an urgent health problem arises, it is hard to know whether you should try to tough it out or seek medical care. Luckily, TRICARE beneficiaries can call the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) to get advice on their health care questions. Not all health problems require a visit with a medical specialist but a Registered Nurse at the NAL can help you make the decision on whether you should seek care at an urgent care center.

While going to an urgent care clinic for a high fever or a sprained ankle may seem like the easiest option, if you call the NAL first you can save time and money. The NAL is made up of a team of registered nurses (RNs), who can answer your healthcare questions. There is always a live person on the line to answer your concerns. When you call, the nurse will ask several medical questions based on your symptoms.  These questions were developed by physicians to help the RNs get the most accurate assessment of your medical problem. If you are not calling for yourself, please make sure that the family member in question is present so you can assess their condition as the nurse asks questions. If the person is over age 13, the nurse may ask to speak to them directly. Feel free to stay on another line or use a speakerphone option if that makes you more comfortable.

If self-care is recommended, the nurse may provide you with advice on home treatments and remedies. However, if you or your family member needs an urgent care appointment, the NAL will help you with next steps.  If you are on TRICARE Prime and enrolled to an MTF or clinic, the NAL will try to schedule a same or next-day appointment for you.  If you are a TRICARE Prime beneficiary enrolled to an MTF and the NAL is unable to get you an appointment in your MTF when you need it, the NAL will follow-up with your MTF to ensure your urgent care referral is submitted. If you are a Prime beneficiary and receive care through the civilian network, and the NAL determines you need urgent care, just follow-up with a call to your civilian PCMs office the next business day to let them know.   Please keep in mind that if you get urgent care from another provider without a referral from your PCM, or if the NAL did not recommend you seek urgent care, you will be using the point-of-service option. The NAL will advise beneficiaries on all other TRICARE plans to seek care within the network.

The NAL is a new and easy option for beneficiaries to get information on their medical problems quickly and at any time. To access the NAL dial 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273) and select option 1. Get more information about the Nurse Advice Line on the TRICARE website.