TRICARE Moves Forward With Prime Service Area Reductions

From a TRICARE Management Activity News Release

The Defense Department will reduce the number of TRICARE Prime service areas in the United States beginning Oct. 1, affecting about 171,000 retirees and their family members.

Those beneficiaries, who mostly reside more than 40 miles from a military clinic or hospital, received a letter earlier this year explaining their options. They will receive a second letter later this month.

TRICARE Management Activity officials said changing the location of Prime service areas has been planned since 2007 as part of the move to the third-generation of managed care support contracts and will allow them to continue their commitment to making high-quality health care available while supporting DOD efforts to control the rising cost of health care for 9.6 million beneficiaries.

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Sleep disorders: a wake-up call to get help

 By Rebekah Almquist
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

More than 90 percent of sleeping disorders involve trouble falling asleep at night or staying awake during the day.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common disorder, is a blockage of the airway that

Karen Robbins, registered respiratory therapist, prepares her patient, Tech. Sgt. Robert Stelly, for a sleep study at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Service Center. U.S. Air Force photo by Harold China
Karen Robbins, registered respiratory therapist, prepares her patient, Tech. Sgt. Robert Stelly, for a sleep study at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Service Center. U.S. Air Force photo by Harold China

keeps oxygen from entering the lungs, explained Army Col. (Dr.) William Frey, Brooke Army Medical Center sleep expert and consultant to the Surgeon General sleep medicine.

Individuals with OSA often wake up choking due to lack of breath. Sleep clinics prescribe Positive Airway Pressure devices to open airways and allow patients to breath regularly – ensuring a full night’s rest.

“Some people recognize this and wonder why they wake up. If it happens enough times over an eight-hour period, there is no continuity of sleep. That can lead to daytime sleepiness,” Frey said. “This still has the same consequences of not getting adequate sleep. OSA is found in 25 percent of men and 10 percent of women over 30.”

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