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PacMed brings care closer to military community

New Lakewood clinic offers new healthcare option for servicemembers

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Pacific Medical Center's (PacMed) new Lakewood clinic will be opening May 2, and its US Family Health Plan Program will change the way servicemen and women utilize healthcare. John Ellis, the Manager of Marketing Enrollment and Member Services has been with PacMed for 11 years and was eager to share the exciting new development regarding the new location and what it means for military members of the community.

RANGER: What was the primary reason for deciding to open a new PacMed clinic in Lakewood?

JOHN ELLIS: Well, our research tells us that there's a need for more healthcare options in the Lakewood community, and our main objective is to provide access to high quality care for military families and the community.

RANGER: For those who may not be aware, what exactly is the US Family Health Plan Program (USFHP) and how does it relate to military members and their families?

ELLIS: The US Family Health Plan is a TRICARE Prime option; it's a special program within the military health system that's only offered in the Puget Sound area and five other parts of the country. USFHP offers active-duty family members and retired personnel the ability to opt-out of military treatment facilities and use all-civilian providers.

RANGER: What does it mean to be the only West Coast provider of USFHP?

ELLIS: It means that families that move to the Puget Sound area have another option for their healthcare - they have more choices. Again, it's a special program that's only offered in six regions across the country.

RANGER: How many patients do you estimate have been served using USFHP?

ELLIS: Nationally, there are 156,000 people that are part of the program. In the Puget Sound area, there are about 16,500 people that are already using the US Family Health Plan program, and about 2,000 of those individuals reside in Pierce County. We've been averaging about 200 new members a month that are becoming part of the USFHP.

RANGER: How will the new Lakewood clinic enable military members to have access to healthcare?

ELLIS: The new Lakewood clinic will offer same-day primary care. It's not a walk-in, it's not a ‘sit-and-wait for health care' kind of program. When we have individuals who need to get in to see a doctor, they are able to get a same-day appointment instead of waiting days for something that needs to be taken care of immediately.

RANGER: What makes PacMed a good medical alliance to the U.S. Military?

ELLIS: PacMed improves access for military families and it gives them a sense of choice. With additional choice and improved access, you have a higher rate of satisfaction. Military life is tough, and military families should not have to worry about healthcare - it just shouldn't be one of the challenges. The existence of PacMed helps with military readiness.

RANGER: What products and services will this Lakewood location offer to military personnel that may be of special interest or high importance to them?

ELLIS: In addition to the same day appointments, there will be Behavioral Health, Physical Therapy, and Lab Services as well.

RANGER: Are there any particular steps that need to be taken in order for military members to take advantage of this program?

ELLIS: I would like active-duty folks to know that USFHP is part of the military health system. Meaning, members of the military do not need to get any sort of special permission to join the program and opt-out of medical healthcare on JBLM.

To learn more about USFHP, military personnel can simply visit or call 1.866.418.7346. PacMed also accepts most insurance plans to make the transition easier.

Pacific Medical Center, 7424 Bridgeport Way W., Suite 201

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