January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

HPV1
Kaya Sparks receives her first dose of the human papillomavirus vaccine. Young adults and children 9-26 years old can protect themselves from HPV related cancers with the HPV vaccine.

No woman should die of cervical cancer according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV, remains the most preventable cancer in women who have regular screening tests to include yearly well woman exams and Pap tests, said Ramona Derousseau, IACH Well Woman Clinic nurse practitioner.

The Pap test looks for precancers, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cancerous if not treated. Women should get Pap tests regularly starting at age 21. Routine screening is recommended every three years for women 21-65 years who have a normal Pap test with a negative HPV test according to the CDC. Women who are 30 years and older with an unclear Pap test are also tested for HPV.

Women of all ages should also have yearly well woman exams for their reproductive health care needs, Derousseau said.

“I recommend all women have yearly well woman exams because a Pap test doesn’t tell us if the ovaries are normal size or if there are any changes to the uterus,” she said.

The well woman exam includes a breast and pelvic examination, a Pap test if needed, a review of labs and medications, a review of family history and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

If a Pap test comes back abnormal or if a woman is diagnosed positive for HPV, it does not mean cervical cancer is present, according to the CDC. HPV can cause normal cells on the cervix to turn abnormal. Over many years, abnormal cells can turn into cancer if they are not found or treated.

“I tell women it only takes one encounter to get HPV and once you are exposed it stays in your body. Your body takes up to two years or more to suppress the virus. We monitor it to make sure it stays suppressed,” Derousseau said.

Young adults and youth may also protect themselves from HPV related cancers with the HPV vaccine.

The CDC recommends youth begin all three doses of the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12, the vaccine is most effective when all does are received before a person has their first sexual encounter.

Youth and young adults up to age 26 are encouraged to get vaccinated.

TRICARE coverage of the HPV vaccine starts at age 9 through 26. For more information on the HPV vaccine, contact your medical team through Secure Messaging Services at https://app.relayhealth.com/.

To schedule a well woman exam or Pap test, visit http://www.tricareonline.com, or call the appointment line at 785-239-DOCS (3627).

 

The Joint Commission Re-Accredits IACH

Irwin Army Community Hospital received its long-awaited Gold Seal of Approval in December.

The accreditation document is awarded by The Joint Commission for demonstrating continuous compliance with performance standaGoldSeal_4colorrds. It reflects a hospital’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

“We are delighted to have earned our three-year hospital accreditation from The Joint Commission,” said COL Risa Ware, IACH Commander. “The IACH team underwent a rigorous on-site survey to re-accredit the hospital. The achievement demonstrates the high quality and commitment of all our providers and staff.”

The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States. It has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years. The Joint Commission’s hospital standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help hospitals measure, assess and improve performance.

A team of five Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated IACH for compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including provision of care, emergency management, environment of care and facilities, infection prevention and control, leadership, patient safety, and medication management.

“Joint Commission accreditation provides hospitals with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas from the enhancement of staff education to the improvement of daily business operations,” said Mark G. Pelletier, Chief Operating Officer, Division of Accreditation and Certification Operations, The Joint Commission. “In addition, our accreditation helps hospitals enhance their risk management and risk reduction strategies. We commend Irwin Army Community Hospital for its efforts to become a quality improvement organization.”

TRICARE Pharmacy Copays Change February 1

2016-Copays-ChangesOn Feb 1, 2016, most copays for prescription drugs at Home Delivery and retail network pharmacies will increase slightly.

Military pharmacies and TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery will remain the lowest cost pharmacy option for TRICARE beneficiaries when some TRICARE pharmacy copays change in 2016.

The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act requires TRICARE to change its prescription copays. All drugs at military pharmacies, and generic drugs through Home Delivery, are still available at no cost to beneficiaries. Copays for brand name drugs through Home Delivery increase from $16 to $20, for up to a 90-day supply. At retail pharmacies, generic drug copays go from $8 to $10, and brand name drug copays go from $20 to $24 dollars, for up to a 30-day supply. Copays for non-formulary drugs and for drugs at non-network pharmacies will also change.

Beneficiaries can save up to $208 in 2016 for each brand name prescription drug they switch from retail pharmacy to Home Delivery. Home Delivery offers safe and convenient delivery of your prescription drugs right to your mailbox.

To see the new TRICARE pharmacy copays, learn more about the TRICARE Pharmacy benefit, or move your prescription to Home Delivery, visit www.tricare.mil/pharmacy.