As transition efforts for Ireland Army Health Clinic slowly progress and the construction of the new building makes headway, the IRAHC Acute Care Clinic will undergo a location change now, all be it a subtle one, according to Col. Kevin Bass, the IRAHC and Fort Knox MEDDAC commander.

"We are going to shift the location of the ACC from where it is in the old emergency room footprint, and incorporate it within the current family care clinic location," he explained. "I expect this change to take place in the middle of April--before our military training obligations kick into full gear."

The FCC will offer extended hours for all beneficiaries Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m., to 6 p.m.

The reason for the change, he said, is because including the ACC within the FCC means ease of access to a patient's primary care physician, should the need arise.

"Our goal is seamless healthcare for our patients so we can continue to provide the quality, safe care that our beneficiaries deserve," he explained. "And as we move forward toward a more holistic approach to patient healthcare, we think it is important to co-locate as many of the assets as possible that a patient may require."

With the hours of availability at the ACC, that clinic saw some overflow from the family clinic when people couldn't get an immediate appointment with their physician, Bass added. The outcome of this move would mean less walking around from clinic to clinic to see a provider and greater ease of access to healthcare.

"And the process will be the same," Bass said. "You walk in, sign in and wait for your name to be called."

He pointed out that if a patient has a medical situation that needs more urgent treatment, or if the clinic isn't open, they can visit any number of urgent care centers--and now they don't need approval.

Tricare recently changed its policy to allow beneficiaries unlimited visits to urgent care centers without referrals. ( Bass said with this change family members and retirees who need immediate care for issues like the flu, sprains, minor cuts, etc., won't have to wait for an appointment and can "quickly visit the urgent care clinic for immediate help."

Previously if a beneficiary needed to visit an urgent/immediate care center, they were allowed only two visits a year, per enrollee, without a referral.

However, active duty personnel must still get a referral from their provider or from the Nurse Advice Line at 800-874-2273.

For an IRAHC FCC extended hours appointment please call 502-624-0508 or the IRAHC appointment line at 800-493-9602.