DoD Releases TRICARE for Kids Report

Together we're stronger

After reviewing the recently released Department of Defense (DoD) Study on Health Care and Related Support for Children of Members of the Armed Forces, our Association has asked Congress to step in to ensure DoD addresses problems military families face with pediatric care.

Congress mandated the DoD study, commonly referred to as the “TRICARE for Kids (TFK) Report,” to determine whether the health care needs of military connected children are being met. Given that we regularly hear from military families about challenges in getting pediatric care we feel this study is long overdue, and we are grateful to Congress for requesting it. Unfortunately, the TFK Report does not address our concerns. The data included in the report is limited and largely irrelevant, making it impossible to effectively evaluate access to pediatric care. For this reason, we question the report’s conclusion that the Military Health System (MHS) meets the needs of children in its care, including those with special needs.

In fact, although the TFK Report concludes that MHS is meeting the needs of military kids, it also acknowledges in every element of the study that there are significant gaps, areas for clarification, and considerable deficiencies in data collection and analysis. These issues, along with others identified by pediatric care experts, require immediate attention.

Our Association urges decisive action to address issues with pediatric access to care. Specifically, we have asked Congress to call on DoD to convene a working group to resolve problems with military kids’ access to quality health care. Given the recent emphasis on evaluating access, quality and safety within the MHS, we believe correcting known issues within the pediatric arena is a productive and sensible starting point. 

Click here to read the TRICARE for Kids Coalition response to the 15 July DoD report.

Has your military family had problems accessing medical care for your kids?  Please tell us about it so we can share your stories with Congress and the MHS!

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Submitted by: Kat
Posted:
September 16, 2014
Comment: my 2 military kids get excellent healthcare, but they're on Tricare Standard and see only civilian doctors at a civilian hospital. if they need a same-day appointment for something, they get it. i don't worry about long waits for referrals (the longest i had to wait for one was 1 week, and had the appointment the next week). my 5 year old has autism and my 2 year old has a whole list of health problems, and i couldn't imagine how long they'd languish in the military healthcare system waiting for a referral. you couldn't PAY me to switch my kids and myself to Prime. i refuse to step foot into an MTF. i like the flexibility in choosing our doctors with Standard, and i love that my and my sons' doctors are REAL doctors instead of civilian contracted "doctors" that the DoD hires at the lowest bidder. actual military docs are great (as in, military servicemen who are doctors), but the civilian contracted "doctors" are way less than stellar. so glad we have the option of Standard so we can get real, timely medical care!



Submitted by: Elena
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: No. If everyone would stop bringing their child in over a sneeze or little cough then there would be better access to care. Our family has had no problems in fact we just had a very wonderful experience.



Submitted by: Battle Weary EFMP Mom
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: The entire EFMP program is a nightmare! I have had to fight tooth and nail for adequate care and treatment for my child, and absolutely none of the EFMP programs offered are relevant to my daughter's conditions. And, I know I am not the only parent that has to fight for adequate care. I have observed that the EFMP Program lumps together all those defined by the EFMP Process as having special needs, offering blanket programs and services. And, when we PCS, the nightmare intensifies, because we have to start the entire process over again, from scratch, with doctors who know nothing about my child's health and history. My daughter has not one, but two chronic, long-term illnesses, and her care is only now acceptable, because I demand it, fight for it, and will not settle for less. To conclude from the TFK Report that MHS is meeting the needs of our military children is grossly and woefully ignorant of what those needs are. Our children deserve and need better.



Submitted by: Val
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: On the rare occasion my son gets sick, it's absolutely impossible to get an appointment for him to be seen. The last time he was ill, he had been running a fever for several days (amongst other symptoms) and I was told that he couldn't be seen for over a month, and that we couldn't be refered to urgent care. I was told to take him to the emergency room ...and when he was seen at the emergency room I was told by the attending doctor that he never should have been brought in for a fever because it was taking time away from patients who actually needed to be seen. It's incredibly frustrating to be told I can't get an appointment for my child, to be sent to the ER, and then told my child is wasting their time. When I'm dealing with a sick kid, I've now got the added stress of wondering if he's sick enough for the ER because I can't get an appointment at our clinic and I don't want to be humiliated again.



Submitted by: Sarah
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: It took 3 ER visits, 7 doctors appointments and 2 overnight hospital stays before my daughter was finally diagnosed with asthma. Imagine my surprise when the er sent her home with low oxygen levels and coughing nonstop for hours trying to brush it off as a virus. When my daughter had a very bad UTI we couldn't get an appointment for three weeks later. If we actually waited that long then the infection could have spread to her kidneys. We ended up having to take her to the er to get medical treatment. It seems the ER had been our primary care due to lack of available appointments. Every single time I try to get an appointment for my kids I am always told one of two things. 1. I'm sorry we have no available appointments or 2. Call back every two hours to see if there is something available. Ridiculous!!



Submitted by: cate
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: We are retired now but when my son was 1 year old he still wasn't talking and I could tell something was wrong. I fought with his military PCM for 6 months about early intervention and Getting a referral to ENT because he had chronic ear infections. I finally called early intervention myself and made a complaint and got him a referral to ENT. When he had both his evaluations he was seriously deficient in speech and he had so much fluid behind his ear drums he was essentially deaf. He had speech for two years and three sets of tubes. He is almost Six now and still has a speech deficiency. When we retired and I received his medical record his PCM wrote in his record that I basically had munchausan. Like I was looking for My child to be sick. She was just covering her but because I had complained about her. I have heard of so many stories like mine and something needs to change!



Submitted by: Tanya
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: While stationed at ft sill our baby could have died with the lack if care, he was sick and we kept taking him in and they kept saying he was fine and it was "just a virus " well he went in with this so called virus for 2 months until it got really bad and we took him to the er because he was wheezing so bad and the er sent him home, the next day we took him off post to a civilian hospital and the immediately admitted him because his oxygen was so low and he had pneumonia and rsv, he was hospitalized 3 days and came home a healthy baby boy, I was furious! They are the dr they are susposed to know there job, we requested to be seen off post after that and were denied, all they offered was a different pediatrician at same clinic, we filed a nice complain in the ped. And maybe she was talked to I don't know! It also was always impossible to get an appointment, I think it's ridiculous to have to sit in an er for minor things we can see a PCM for, it takes space for those really in need and is a waste if time! Things must change!!!!!



Submitted by: regold
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: EFMP child and a different pcm doctor every time we go.....need consistency with the condition my child has, I feel like he is the test product...I am my child's Dr



Submitted by: linoir
Posted:
September 15, 2014
Comment: live in Stafford, VA, husband is Marine. I have an efmp child that needs specialty appts all the time...every time I call for an appt. Ft Belvoir is full and so we get sent to Walter Reed. Daddy is gone...Im doing all of it on my own and with traffic have to leave 2 hours before to get there on time. Its a whole day adventure which my child has to miss school. Something needs to be fixed with this system.



Submitted by: Cindy
Posted:
September 12, 2014
Comment: All of these comments on this page are ringing so true for military families. Why is it the criminals in America get better care than the people and their families that fight for our freedom.



Submitted by: Cindy
Posted:
September 12, 2014
Comment: My daughter has 2 children and when they get sick, she is always told by the base doctors that they can see them in a month.She called tri-care and they told her that they couldn't let her change to an off post doctor because she is near the base. So she has to rake them to the emergency room to be seen.



Submitted by: LesLi
Posted:
September 3, 2014
Comment: It has been nothing but a constant struggle to get the support in the 30th Medical Group as a whole; from TOPPA, from the patient advocate, from the care manager. Every bit of medical help my daughter desperately needed was achieved b/c i had to fight the Medical Group the entire time. We did not even have full staffing as far as a Pediatric Doctor and/or Nurse Practitioner. There was one Pediatric Doctor and they were outsourcing ALL peds patients to adult med doctors who had know idea what they were doing nor could they answer questions concerning routine visits for well baby or checkups. I was told the cost to bring in another Doctor of NP was too much for the Medical Group and they were not willing to pay for that and it took from January 2014-August 2014 to get another person in and able to see patients. When those of us with "exceptional" family members requested to be seen by a pediatric doctor who accepted Tricare Prime we were told no due to the proximity we lived in relation to the Medical Group. We were being declined based on WHERE we lived instead of the quality of care our children needed. We were also told and pushed towards Tricare Standard and with some of the needs of "exceptional" family members we could not afford the specialist care bills as my child in particular is seeing 3 doctors at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Not only that, where we are located there are not options for pediatric specialty care unless you drive to Los Angeles or San Francisco and getting those referrals has not been the easiest task



Submitted by: Little mama
Posted:
September 3, 2014
Comment: When our teenage daughter was sick with CRPS it took approx 9 months for her to be diagnosed, even though the initial civilian doctor that saw her told us what was wrong. Our daughter missed so much because she was so sick. Then, it took so much work on OUR behalf to get tori are to authorize a rehab stay. So much went on, and really she received such substandard care ....at one point ,when we were at a visit in a mtf, because she couldn't stop throwing up, I asked the Dr. To please help us, because this was not the way a person should be living...the dr. Acted very noncommittal, I was exasperated and said to her " WHAT can we do, this is my daughter.." And the Dr. said, "maybe you should pray" WHAT?!?!?!?! Yes, this is the fine medical care our sweet children get.....



Submitted by: Jen
Posted:
September 3, 2014
Comment: There is a serious issue on most AF bases with receiving access to pediatric care in a timely manner that coincides with the standards for care set by Tricare. When an appt is not available, the solution is to seek care at an Urgent Care Clinic, where pediatrics is not their specialty. There are simply not enough providers to provide continuity of care. The care that is received is quality, but that matters not one bit if you cannot even get an appt. As a parent of two children enrolled in EFMP for asthma, being able to receive continuous care from the same provider is essential. There are numerous compelling reasons to seek civilian care in these cases, especially with children who end up in the ER and being admitted to the hospital for asthma. Military providers do not have hospital privileges in civilian hospitals, which means my children are not treated or followed by their pediatrician in these instances. Only in unusual circumstances are waivers provided for civilian care instead of the MTF. In most cases, families have to switch to Tricare Standard instead to be able to make the best decisions for their child's care.



Submitted by: Jackie
Posted:
September 2, 2014
Comment: My daughter has a joined double thumb. Three different pediatricians have recommended a specific pediatric hand surgeon as being the only one qualified for surgery to remove one thumb and reconnect the tendon from it to the other thumb so she has full function. This doctor is not covered by Tricare. There is NO pediatric hand surgeon approved by Tricare. As a result we will have to wait until after my husband returns from deployment and we switch to civilian health care in order to use the surgeon everyone agrees is the correct one. We shouldn't have to make that choice.



Submitted by: She Leaps
Posted:
September 2, 2014
Comment: Tricare sets up RIDICULOUS barriers for willing and able (and eminently qualified) healthcare providers. As a result, it purposely limits the number of providers, choice of providers, and range of services available to children in need of care, in order to save money. WHY should a health care provider with a nationally recognized Accreditation be required to get another accreditation required by TriCare? Drop TriCare. Privitize care for military families (while you're at it, privitize care for the military, God knows they face the same problems). Tricare is a waste of taxpayer money. The money that is spent on these paper-pushers would be better spent on providing actual care to a child.



Submitted by: Jill
Posted:
September 2, 2014
Comment: On the Marine Corps bases we always had a problem with PCM's changing (being deployed) and they never once had an accurate file on my child even for scheduled appt's. You kept having to tell your kids background again and again and again. Then there was the lack of urgent appointment. They would rather you go out in town for care. I knew my daughter had Strep (she had had it several times before) was sent out to urgent care, waited over 4 hours to be seen with a 9 yr old running a 102 fever without even being asked if we needed water.. I had to beg for water. Ridiculous. And don't get me started on the misdiagnosis several times on things like strep etc. Thats why I live out in town where I can choice my own docs now.



Submitted by: Linz
Posted:
September 2, 2014
Comment: We are mandated to go to the Army clinic for Pediatric care but every time we call to make an appointment we are told there are no appointments available and have to go to urgent care. Even for a well visit. Why can't we just choose our own pediatric doctor if they take tricare? Why do we have to settle for urgent care and risk catching something an urgent care where severely ill people with no insurance go?!



Submitted by: Tara G.
Posted:
September 2, 2014
Comment: Tricare has denied a request to test for a genetic condition for my children. Knowing that I had this genetic condition saved my daughter's life - without medical intervention, I likely would have miscarried her, as I had miscarried in the past. If my children also have this condition, I would like to know, as it would mean changes to their medical care. We currently treat them as if they have it, especially in terms of going to the dentist (receiving Nitrous Oxide can be fatal for me).



Submitted by: Mom of one.
Posted:
September 2, 2014
Comment: While stationed at an Airforce base, we received beyond excellent care. Unknowingly, they apparently are not the norm. Now, at a an Army airfield, we are receiving poor pediatric care, for something as simple as an annual well check to ensure nutrician and milestones are being met. I'm frustrated that I have changed the PCM on post for my son 3 times in a year and still feel this way. I'm also frustrated that locally, there are civilian pediatricians that accept Tricare Prime, yet due to restrictions, we are forced to either change our coverage to go to them or accept the care (or lack thereof) at the assigned MTF.



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