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MacDill ER to shut down permanently

Pending approval of a recent proposal to the Air Force Surgeon General, the 6th Medical Group will close the doors to the Emergency Room effective July 1. The 6th Medical Group commander, Col. Charles Mackett, wants to assure his patient population that their medical needs will still be met.

"We are blessed in the Tampa Bay area to have an abundance of medical resources at our fingertips," said Colonel Mackett. "Our downtown partners are capable and willing to offer our beneficiaries the best medical treatment available."

Many factors shape today's Air Force Medical Service and it is increasingly more beneficial to the patient and to the Air Force to utilize the resources available in the civilian medical community, he said.

"What we really want to stress to our beneficiary population is that the closure of the ER is not an erosion of benefits, but an opportunity to care for our patients at a higher level in the civilian community," said Colonel Mackett.

There are numerous urgent care centers located throughout the Tampa Bay region. These centers are ideal for beneficiaries who require urgent care outside of normal provider business hours.

The map (right) shows the locations of some centrally located UCCs in the Tampa Bay area. Beneficiaries are encouraged to locate the UCC nearest to their home so that the information may be added to their family medical plan. Since hours of operation vary among UCCs, it is important to note the hours of the chosen UCC before the need for urgent care arises. If urgent care is needed outside of UCC hours of operation, proceed to the nearest emergency room.

Patients enrolled to the 6th MDG and the MacDill Community Clinic-Brandon are reminded that same day appointments are available through the clinics by calling the appointment lines at 828-2273 for the MDG or 827-2273 for the Brandon Clinic. Appointments may also be scheduled by logging onto TRICARE Online at www.tricareonline.com. Use this option if the patient's medical condition occurs during clinic hours or can wait until the next business day.

So how does a patient know when to proceed to an emergency room for care? TRICARE defines an emergency as medical, maternity or psychiatric conditions that would lead a "prudent layperson," (someone with average knowledge of health and medicine), to believe that a serious medical condition exists, or that the absence of medical attention will result in a threat to the patient's life, limb or sight. Emergencies are conditions that require immediate medical treatment or which have painful symptoms requiring immediate attention to relieve suffering.

It is critical for TRICARE Prime beneficiaries to contact their Primary Care Manager within 24 hours after a visit to an UCC or an ER. The PCM will make a referral and insure that follow-up care is scheduled. The notification also prevents the beneficiary from being billed for the visit to an UCC or ER.

"The goal of the Medical Group is to make this transition as seamless for our beneficiaries as possible. We understand that new processes can be confusing and we stand ready to assist our valued beneficiaries in every way that we can," Colonel Mackett notes. "We will make every effort to provide all of the information necessary to make informed healthcare decisions."

Questions regarding medical benefits can be answered by contacting or visiting one of the following agencies:

Humana Military Healthcare Services, Inc., at 800-444-5445 (toll free), or online at www.humana-military.com. Also Local TRICARE Service Center 8415 Bayshore Blvd, Building 710, MacDill AFB, FL 33621 (Courtesy of the 6th MDG)

Tampa Bay urgent care centers

10575 US Hwy 19N., Pinellas Park
727-540-0234

13856 N. Dale Mabry, Carrollwood
264-1885

13210 N. Bruce B. Downs, Tampa
977-2777

5015 E. Busch Blvd, Temple Terrace
985-2784

2810 W. M.L. King Blvd, Tampa
877-8450

801 M.L. King Blvd W., Seffner
684-4424

206 E. Brandon Blvd, Brandon
681-5571

26812 US Hwy 19 N., Clearwater
727-799-2727

2617 W. Kennedy Blvd, Tampa
877-8880

16692 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa
964-9200

3251 66th Street N, St. Petersburg
727-344-3627

6455 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg
727-367-5666

7676 4th Street N, St. Petersburg
727-526-3627

7601 Seminole Blvd, Seminole
727-394-5666

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