Story by Merrie Schilterlowe on 08/08/2019TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. David Grant USAF Medical Center beneficiaries at Travis Air Force Base will experience longer wait times for some services as well as fewer available appointments beginning Sept. 7 when DGMC goes live with the new Department of Defense electronic health record system, MHS GENESIS.
The new system will integrate inpatient and outpatient information including active-duty dental records make patient record systems standard across the military services and improve access to care and overall safety for beneficiaries, according to Col. (Dr.) Kristen Beals, 60th Medical Group commander.
"As this transition begins, health care team members will receive 20 to 60 hours of extensive training on the new system," she said. "This will impact our access to care during the next few months."
The changes should not affect active-duty members to the same degree as their health conditions could affect job performance, result in a profile or being assigned to quarters.
"If you are active duty, we will make every effort to see you, even if we do not have available appointments," Beals said.
If appointments are not available, active-duty members should leave a message with central appointments asking for a call from the team nurse who will assess their symptoms and work with their primary care manager to address any health concerns.
All other beneficiaries may be referred to an off-base urgent care center for acute issues or to the family health clinic at DGMC for routine problems.
Beneficiaries can also expect longer wait times at the pharmacy, laboratory and emergency department during the transition, Beals said.
To eliminate delays in services, patients should book wellness and annual appointments, complete laboratory tests and radiology visits before Sept. 7. They can also request prescription refills or renewals in advance and obtain a hard copy of any referral for specialty care.
"We can also provide care without an appointment for certain non-complex issues such as tests for strep throat, urinary tract infection or pregnancy," Beals said.
Patients should call central appointments at 707-423-3000 for such issues.
To help manage prescription processing, off-base prescriptions from network providers written or electronic entry will be activated and filled at the base exchange satellite pharmacy beginning Aug. 26. The main pharmacy will only process prescriptions from DGMC providers.
Additionally, processing time for refills will be extended to three duty days. Patients can request refills 22 days early for a 90-day supply and seven days early for a 30-day supply.
"Over the next few months, we will introduce you to MHS GENESIS through emails and social media," Beals said. "Once we fully transition to MHS GENESIS, you will have access to a patient portal that will allow you to be fully engaged in your health care."
Patients will be able to book primary care appointments, request prescription renewals, send secure emails to their health care team, review certain test results, discharge instructions and provider notes.
"Rest assured, DGMC staff will continue to provide safe, high-quality healthcare during this time of transition while receiving training in the new electronic health record," said Lt. Col. John DaLomba, 60th MDG director of operations.
DaLomba recommends that patients who use TRICARE Online to communicate with their health care team sign up now for the MHS GENESIS patient portal since TOL will be suspended Sept. 5.
People who currently have a DoD self-service log-on account must update to the MHS GENESIS premium account to use the patient portal.
"If you do not have a common access card or myPay account, you will need to create a premiums DS Logon account to access the MHS GENESIS patient portal," DaLomba said.
To create this account, visit: https:///myaccess.dmdc.osd.mil and select the need account' option. People who experience problems should call the Defense Manpower Data Center at 800-538-9552.
Beneficiaries may be asked to provide the DoD identification number on the back of their military ID card, financial information and past addresses. Patients will then create a password, which needs to be updated every 180 days.
"Doing this now will make for a smoother transition," DaLomba said.
Once logged onto the portal, patients should verify their contact information, which is automatically pulled from the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS. If this information is not current, it could create problems with TRICARE claims. To update DEERS, visit www.tricare.mil/deers.
The MHS GENESIS system is being deployed in waves. Travis AFB is in the first wave, along with Naval Air Station Lemoore, U.S. Army Health Clinic Presidio of Monterey, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
Eventually, the Department of Veterans Affairs will integrate a similar system, allowing one health care record to follow military members when they transition from active duty, Beals said.
"Overall, (MHS GENESIS) will improve our ability to monitor patient safety, outcomes and population health data," Beals said.