WASHINGTON, D.C. ― In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing held Thursday to consider the nomination of Thomas McCaffery to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) pressed McCaffery on improving delivery of care for TRICARE West, which serves military retirees, service members, and military families – including 83,800 TRICARE beneficiaries in New Mexico.
During the hearing, Heinrich raised concerns over issues TRICARE West has experienced with its contractor, Health Net Federal Services (HNFS), in maintaining an accurate directory with the correct names, phone numbers and addresses of providers so that Military Treatment Facilities can accurately refer patients.
According to HNFS, the health care provider directory is only correct for about 42 percent of the western region. The inaccurate database bogs down the referral process for military retirees, service members, and military families, delays care and costs Military Treatment Facilities thousands of hours and millions of dollars in staff time at military bases to correct.
In response to Heinrich’s questioning, McCaffery acknowledged the severity of the problem and the need to take immediate corrective action.
Testimony and the archived webcast of Thursday’s hearing is available here.