New Nurse Advice Line Will Make Medical Treatment Faster and Better for Tricare Beneficiaries

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) - Next Tuesday, April 8th, members of the military and their families at Redstone Arsenal, who need medical help or guidance, will have a new way to get it much faster.

The idea is to get members of the military the medical treatment they need quickly and easily, while saving time and money.

Each calltaker at Fox Army Hospital takes about 100 calls every day from members of the military needing medical help or guidance through their medical provider, Tricare.

"They're not nurses," said Barbara Williford, manager of the calltakers. "They book appointments according to a standard operating procedures."

Soon, the calltakers will have a lot more help from the New Nurse Advice Line, answered 24 -7.

"Call in, talk to a registered nurse and get answers to their questions and possibly get an appointment or get a referral for urgent or emergency care," said Dr. Timothy Talbot, a physician at Fox Army Health Center.

The live team of nurses gives self-help advice, or helps determine the specific problem based on symptoms, or hands off the call to a medical professional inside a local facility, thereby avoiding a waste of time or resources.

"Forty percent of the ER visits downtown or acute visits downtown on the network or into our ERs or acute centers really aren't necessary, based on the signs and symptoms," said Lt. Colonel Ron Gesaman of Fox Army Health Center.

The line will eventually connect all military treatment centers across the continental US at any time of day.

"The key of the improvement is going to be the ability for the nurse advice line to make appointments in our system," said Gesaman.

The new line is creating jobs too.

"For every physician that you hire, there's a three point one support staff that comes with that," Gesaman said.

The new Nurse Advice line goes active next Tuesday, April 8th.

Tricare beneficiaries should call 1-800-TRICARE -- or 1-800-874-2273.

There is no cost for the line. It will go active across the nation on April 25th.
Military officials say they'll be able to determine how much money the line is saving within a few months.