FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 27, 2013) -- As college students finish up their final exams and head home for the holidays, the Lyster Army Health Clinic commander wants to remind those traveling away from their primary care doctor that staff is here for them if they need medical care.

Students covered under TRICARE Prime are encouraged to see their college doctor for any routine care needs before heading home to Family, but LAHC is available for those with acute issues while home on vacation, said Col. James Laterza.

"We are happy to see students while they are on holiday break, and want to make sure they stay healthy during their time off," Laterza said. "Students who need to be seen for acute symptoms can call the patient appointment line and we will make sure we service their needs."

Acute symptoms can include ear and sinus infections, a fever that lasts for more than 24 hours, severe coughing or other conditions that are perceived to be worsening. To make an appointment, call 255-7000.

Those who need to see a provider on the weekend or after normal duty hours may need an urgent care center. Urgent care services are medically necessary services required for an illness or injury that requires professional attention within 24 hours.

Students or beneficiaries who have current or chronic medical conditions and are enrolled to primary care managers outside Fort Rucker should make attempts to bring copies of medical records with them while on vacation.

A good contact phone number and email of the student's college doctor is also important for staff at LAHC to have on hand. This is good practice also if travelers sustained an injury while at school and are still recovering.

Those who need to see a doctor outside LAHC's normal business hours can find TRICARE-approved after-hours urgent care clinics on the front page of LAHC's website,

If traveling overseas, patients must call the TRICARE Regional Call Center for the region in which they are traveling to coordinate urgent care. If emergency care is required, students or beneficiaries should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

"Patients admitted to the ER are responsible for notifying their primary care manager or regional contractor within 24 hours or on the next business day," said Maj. Scott Sorquist, managed care chief at LAHC.

Prior authorization is not required for emergency care before receiving treatment. This also applies to patients who receive ER treatment while traveling overseas for vacation.

TRICARE Prime enrollment is portable, meaning the beneficiary can transfer their coverage if TRICARE Prime is available in the beneficiary's new location. The beneficiary should transfer their TRICARE Prime enrollment when they move or if they will be out of the area for more than 60 days. They should not disenroll from TRICARE before they move.

Retirees and their Family members are limited to two enrollment transfers each enrollment year. There is no limit with active-duty Soldiers and their Family members. If Family members live in different regions, split enrollment is an option that allows enrollment in multiple regions and pay only one Family enrollment fee.