By Amy Guckeen TolsonMay 25, 2017
For speedy results with no copays, Tricare beneficiaries need to look no further than Fox Army Health Center when they're in need of labs.
Open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, Fox Army Health Center's laboratory is ready to serve more patients with more lab offerings than ever before, according to Laboratory Chief Michael Yarbrough.
"We only have about 14,000 empanelled patients here at the health center, but along with the pharmacy, we offer our services to all Tricare beneficiaries," Yarbrough said. "We're trying to get that word out to all the retirees and Tricare eligible beneficiaries in the community. There is no cost associated if they come to us, because when a patient is seen at the Army medical treatment facility there is no copay."
Currently the lab sees upwards of 40,000 patients annually, Yarbrough said, but more than 60,000 people in the community are eligible to come to Fox for their lab needs. Tests offered include those typically associated with annual physicals, cholesterol, lipid and thyroid panels, hepatitis screening, complete blood counts, urinalysis and pregnancy tests. All patients need to do is bring their paper prescription for the labs, signed by their provider, along with a valid form of identification and Fox staff will take care of the rest.
"We've increased our menu rather significantly in the past six months," Yarbrough said of the tests available. "Realistically, we have the capability to take care of any test needed."
The lab is coming up on its one year anniversary since renovations began, which replaced "everything from the ceiling down," to include a new floor plan, new analyzers and new equipment. While staffing numbers have not changed, efficiency in the lab has. Prior to the renovations, staff would send an average of 8,000 tests out a month to be analyzed at other treatment facilities; today that number is down to 2,000.
"For the patient that means faster turnaround times," Yarbrough said. "Now you can get those results the same day, versus two to three weeks to receive it back from another facility. The technology increase provided us with those faster turnaround times by establishing more capabilities in-house. Since our renovation we've seen a 35 percent increase in patient load and almost a 25 percent decrease in cost -- we're doing more for less. That's based on technology we chose to run the specimens."