Ireland Army Health Clinic's Pediatric Clinic has made changes within its clinic that will positively impact patients and streamline processes.

Doctor (Capt.) Stephen Barbera, officer in charge of the pediatric clinic, said his staff always looks for ways to improve the patient experience. One example is the way authorization letters for referrals are processed.

"Tricare Humana authorization letters for referrals to see specialists outside of IRAHC will no longer be mailed to patients," said Barbera. "Within 5-7 business days of each referral being placed, the patient -- or in this case the parents of the patient -- can simply proceed to the Tricare Humana at humanamilitary.com to create a beneficiary account and print that referral. This should certainly cut down on the wait times and help improve the patient experience."

Barbera added that this change was only one of a couple of changes in the clinic.

For example, clinic staff members are giving routine pediatric immunizations, including the influenza vaccine, to patients within their scheduled clinic visits, "but the immunization clinic at IRAHC remains available for immunizations needed outside of scheduled pediatric clinic visits.

"Many of the routine screening questionnaires required for pediatric clinic visits are now available online and can be printed and completed before their appointments," he noted.
"This is one way we are trying to streamline some of processes and make it easier for patients."

Questionnaires are located on the Pediatric Care section of the Fort Knox MEDDAC website at: iach.knox.amedd.army.mil/HealthcareServices/SitePages/PediatricCare.aspx.

The pediatric clinic also now has an embedded registered dietician -- Laura Bottoms. Barbera said there is no referral needed to make an appointment with her; simply call the Central Appointment Line to schedule one.

When making an appointment, Barbera said the patients should know they will be seeing one of four pediatric providers: Dr. Elizabeth Maeser; Dr. Arthur Loesevitz; Barbera; and PNP Mary Ames.

He added that hiring actions have been requested and approved for two more pediatricians to join the clinic. The earliest projected start dates would be April.

In the meantime, the staff is working to ensure the most expedient care possible is provided to patients.

There is something, however, beneficiaries can do to assist, he said.

"Please help us by utilizing our secure messaging service -- it's called Relay Health," he said. "It can be found at Caution-https://app.mil.relayhealth.com/security/login/, and you can use it for medication refill requests and other uncomplicated requests."

Lastly, Barbera said he wants to remind people that if someone has a medical issue for which they need immediate attention but is not an emergency, Tricare has authorized unlimited network urgent care without pre-authorization. Network Urgent Care Clinics can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ybhhd&qj