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Urgent care/walk-in clinic benefit for TRICARE beneficiaries

by Lt. Col. Susan Kadechka

Often times when you feel you need to be seen by a medical provider and it's after-hours or the weekend, the first thought that pops into your head is "I think I'll go to the Emergency Room." Most people are not aware that TRICARE has contracted with many urgent care or doctor's walk-in clinics to provide care to our members that feel they need to see a medical provider, but don't really need to go to an emergency room. A list of Network urgent care centers will follow at the end of this article. Please cut it out and keep it in a safe place.

Examples of medical conditions that can be appropriately handled in an urgent care clinic are: bladder infections, pink eye, broken finger, repair of a minor laceration (stitches) and sore throats with fever (possible strep throat). Using an urgent care clinic is much faster than going to an emergency room where you usually have to wait hours to receive care. Patients requiring immediate medical assistance will be seen before you.

Everyone receives a "Take Care of Yourself" book that is given upon TRICARE registration, at newcomers briefings and through their PCM (primary care manager). Inside the book are suggestions on how to take care of a medical problem yourself with over-the-counter medications and treatments. If the book suggests that you "seek medical care today" and the primary care clinic is closed, an urgent care clinic usually is the best place to seek medical treatment. If the book suggests "seek medical care now," an ER is the best place to go. It is extremely important that you notify your PCM the next business day after you have gone to an urgent care clinic. No notification is needed for ER visits (unless you are the Active Duty member), but it's a good idea to let your PCM know when have received healthcare from another source.

When emergency rooms are used for a diagnosis that is not considered an emergency diagnosis, you may receive a bill from TRICARE for a Point of Service (POS) visit. To avoid this possibility, we encourage you to use your "Take Care of Yourself" books or use your local urgent care center. You can also call your PCM or call the after-hours provider on-call at beeper # 201-0355 (18 years and over) or 201-3753 (17 years and younger). Another option is calling the number on the back of your TRICARE card to talk to a nurse advisor. Below you will find a list of contracted Walk- In/ Urgent Care clinics with their phone numbers and hours of operation.

TRICARE Prime patients seeking care at walk-in clinics must ensure they call their PCM, preferably prior to, but certainly within 24 hours of seeking care, to ensure a referral for that care is submitted by the PCM and subsequently authorized by the TRICARE Health Care Finder.

During disaster or crisis periods when the MacDill MTF is unable to see patients for routine or urgent care, the TRICARE Health Care Finders (HCF) will take calls directly from the Walk-in Clinics for referral authorizations for urgent care. The patient is still responsible for notifying the PCM and the PCM for generating a referral. Phone authorizations done by the HCFs prior to receiving a PCM referral will be appended (HMHS MSR AUTH ACT code "010") for PCM approval.

Your safety and the safety of your family members is the most important factor. Always go to the healthcare setting you feel is the most appropriate. This article, the "Take Care of Yourself Book" and the 24-hour phone numbers will help guide you to the appropriate level of care.

List of Walk-in Clinics in Tampa Bay area:

Hillsborough County

Carollwood Physicians Walk-in Clinic
16688 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
8 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday
8 am - 3 pm Saturday and Sunday

Brandon Physicians Walk-in Clinic
519 E Bloomingdale Ave.., Brandon
8 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday
8 am - 3:30 pm Saturday and Sunday

Parsons Medical Center
908 S. Parsons Ave., Brandon
8 am - 4 pm Monday - Friday

Pasco County

Family Practice Walk-in Clinic
6151 Fort King Rd, Zephyrhills
8 am - noon Monday - Friday

Gulf View Walk-in Clinic
6329 State Rd 54, New Port Richey
8 am - 5 pm Monday - Wednesday
8 am - 6 pm Thursday

Gulf View Walk-in Clinic
2404 US Highway 19, Holiday
9 am - 6 pm Monday - Friday
10 am - 6 pm Saturday
10 am - 4 pm Sunday

Pinellas County

Convenient Care Clinic-Tyrone
3251 66th Street North, St. Petersburg
8:00 am - 8:00 pm Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday

Convenient Care Clinics-Beach
6455 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg
9 am - 6 pm Monday - Friday
9 am - 3 pm Saturday

Convenient Care Clinics - Northeast
7676 4th Street North, St. Petersburg
9 am - 8 pm Monday - Friday
9 am - 6 pm Saturday and Sunday

Convenient Care Clinics - Seminole
7601 Seminole Blvd, Seminole
8 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 3:00 pm Saturday

Convenient Care Clinics - Largo
13163 66th Street North, Largo
8 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday
9 am - 3 pm Saturday

Convenient Care Clinics - Pasadena
1550 Pasadena Avenue, So. Pasadena
9 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday

Polk County

Family Practice Walk-in Clinic
1230 W Daughtery Rd, Lakeland
2 - 4 pm Monday - Friday

Lakeland Square Walk-in Clinic
4120 US Hwy. 98 N, Lakeland
8 am - 5 pm Monday - Friday

Lake Wales Medical Walk-in Clinic
1611 SR 60 East, Lake Wales
8 am - 5 pm Monday - Friday

Sarasota County

Gulfview Walk-in Center
10441 Quality Drive, Suite 200, Spring Hill
8 am - 5 pm Monday - Friday




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