How APLSS Contributes to Medical Readiness

IACH Public Affairs

If you receive a survey in the mail days after your outpatient appointment at any Army medical facility, and have the urge to throw it away-stop-you are throwing away an opportunity to improve medical readiness.

The Army Provider Level Satisfaction Survey (APLSS) gauges how well Irwin Army Community Hospital, Patient and Soldier Centered Medical Homes are performing in terms of patient satisfaction.

“APLSS allow the patient to let us know as a medical practice what areas we may need to improve on as well as the ability to comment if someone did something that was good or bad so we can make corrections,” said Capt. Tiffany Bujak, Team 5 Farrelly Health Clinic provider.

The survey is administered by the U.S. Army’s Office of the Surgeon General and demonstrates a commitment to the health readiness of our Soldiers and their Families. Patient feedback through APLSS helps Army Medicine meet the specific needs of Fort Riley Soldiers and families.

Bujak said the best part of her job is being able to take care of Soldiers. But keeping Soldiers and families medically ready is a partnership, a conversation between patient and provider.

“Just as a patient’s good description of his or her symptoms helps the provider diagnose the condition, a good ‘After Action Report; through APLSS helps us know how we as an organization can better help patients,” said Felton Butler, IACH Community Outreach Division Chief.

Patients are randomly selected to take the survey a few days after their appointment. APLSS asks about the quality of their visit such as provider communication, access, facility cleanliness, and staff courtesy. It is designed to take only 5 – 10 minutes to complete. Personal information is not included.

Those who receive the survey in the mail can log in to the website with the provided code to answer questions; call the toll-free number provided in the letter; or fill out the survey and return it in the pre-addressed envelope provided. All Soldiers will receive surveys via their mail.mil accounts for their own visits as well as those of their dependent children.

Each month about 3,500 APLSS surveys are sent out to Soldiers or family members about their outpatient appointment. Yet only 14 – 16 percent of the surveys are completed, said Butler.

“Completed surveys equal greater medical readiness. How else can we make the right changes without the patient’s input? It’s all about improving medical services to ensure mission readiness,” said Butler. “Our goal is to increase the response rate to more than 50 percent. The more surveys completed the better the data regarding services.”

For more information on APLSS, contact the IACH Community Outreach Division at 785-239-7103.

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IACH Lab Tech to Reenlist at KC Royals Game

SPC Deborah MilutinSPC Deborah Milutin, a medical lab technician at Irwin Army Community Hospital, is hoping her kids gets to see her on TV during a Kansas City Royals pregame ceremony Sept. 7. As part of an Armed Forces Appreciation Night, Milutin and 10 other Fort Riley Soldiers will be reenlisting at Kauffman Stadium. She will be reenlisting for four years.

Milutin enlisted in the Army in 2011. Since then she has come to appreciate the education, training, experience and travel aspects of Army Medicine. And she gets to contribute to the medical readiness of the Army and Army families.

“In order to be resilient, Soldiers have to be in ‘tip top’ shape, but without us (lab technicians) their providers are just guessing,” Milutin said.

Medical Logistics Specialist to Reenlist at MLB Game

SPC Courtney JohnsonSPC Courtney Johnson of Irwin Army Community Hospital is one of 10 Fort Riley Soldiers with the Big Red One who will reenlist during the Armed Forces Appreciation Night ceremony with the Kansas City Royals game on Sept. 7.

She will reenlist to serve for another two years during the Labor Day event at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO.

“I like the Army and I love my job. I would have reenlisted longer but my MOS is ‘over strength,'” said Johnson.

As a logistics specialist, Johnson operates an Omnicell System to maintain the inventory of medical equipment. The hi-tech system facilitates automation and inventory tracking of supplies.

Her goal in Army Medicine is to become a sergeant major.

Changes Coming to TRICARE Pharmacy Benefit

A new law going into effect October 1, 2015 requires most TRICARE beneficiaries to get brand name maintenance drugs from TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or a military pharmacy. If beneficiaries keep using a retail pharmacy for these drugs, they will have to pay the full cost.

Active duty service members are exempt from the law’s requirement. Maintenance drugs are those you take regularly for a long time, such a  drugs to control blood pressure or cholesterol.

The law doesn’t apply to drugs you take for a short time, like antibiotics, or generic drugs. The law also doesn’t apply to beneficiaries living overseas, or who have another insurance plan with prescription drug coverage.

“A military pharmacy is a great way to fill maintenance drugs, since you can get up to a 90-day supply, and there’s no cost for TRICARE beneficiaries,” said Capt. Emily Holcomb, chief of Pharmacy Services at Irwin Army Community Hospital. “Contact any IACH pharmacy or the Express Scripts, Inc. website (https://www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE) to see if your prescription is available or for more information.”

Beneficiaries affected by the change will soon get letters from Express Scripts, Inc., the TRICARE pharmacy contractor. These letters will tell beneficiaries they are taking an affected drug, and explain their options. Beneficiaries can also call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 to see if they are affected.

After October 1, Express Scripts will send another letter to beneficiaries who continue using a retail pharmacy for affected drugs.  After that, beneficiaries have one more chance to fill these prescriptions at a retail pharmacy before they have to pay 100 percent of the cost of their medication.

TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery is a safe, convenient and low cost option to get maintenance drugs. You can get up to a 90-day supply, as opposed to a 30-day supply from a retail pharmacy, and offers a $176 savings per year on your copayments for every brand name drug you switch to Home Delivery.  For more information about this change to TRICARE’s pharmacy benefit, visit http://www.tricare.mil/RxNewRules.