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TRICARE Prime around JBLM

Many options available on and off base

Families have many options for care on and off JBLM. File photo

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There are many options for medical treatment through Tricare Prime while stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). Tricare Prime is the medical plan that has no enrollment fees or copays for active-duty military families. In the JBLM area you have two options, the Puget Sound Military Health System which includes Army, Navy and Air Force hospitals and clinics in Western Washington, and the US Family Health Plan (USFHP), which is a TRICARE Prime benefit administered by Pacific Medical Centers (PACMED).

The Puget Sound Military Health System (MHS) offers three locations at JBLM for active-duty family members to be seen at: the Madigan Army Medical Center, the McChord Family Medicine Clinic, and the Winder Family Medicine Clinic. Madigan Army Medical Center also has two Patient Centered Medical Home Clinics located in communities off-base, the Puyallup Community Medical Home and the South Sound Community Medical Home located in Olympia. There is a centralized appointment line for all clinics at 800.404.4506. The Puget Sound MHS provides care to more than 281,000 beneficiaries.

What if no appointments are available? One of my favorite Tricare Benefits is the Nurses Advice Line at 800.874.2273. This line is available 24/7 and provides a friendly voice to help you determine whether you need to seek care immediately or can wait for an appointment. It is reassuring to speak to a medical professional to help you determine if your child's symptoms warrant care or can be handled with over-the-counter medication. One of the more recent changes to Tricare is you no longer need to seek a referral for Urgent Care if no appointments are available with your Primary Care Manager. The Nurses Advice Line can help you locate a local Urgent Care provider.   

JBLM is one of the first military bases to field MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record for MHS. Once fielding is completed, you will have a single electronic health record. Visit to learn more about the patient portal, which allows you to manage your appointments and communicate with your care team online. This is a new system, so if you are new to JBLM you will need to register for it.

If you live off base, the USFHP, administered by PACMED, might be a more convenient fit for you. It offers patient-centered healthcare and services from civilian providers near where you live. It has the highest satisfaction level in the TRICARE system (USFHP). If you chose this option, you will have a primary care provider you select from the USFHP network and they will coordinate all your care. There are no enrollment fees or copays, as long as you see a USFHP provider. When you choose this option, you won't be able to receive care at a military treatment facility and you won't have access to military pharmacies. You will have copays for prescriptions. For more information, visit PACMED also offers information sessions: call 888.418.7346 to schedule.

Navigating medical care at a new location always has a learning curve. The TRICARE website is a good source of information with charts comparing different plans. Visit

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