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Deployment tips for less stress

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Servicemembers and their families can meet deployment-related challenges and transitions through resources available from TRICARE, the Military Health System and TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

TRICARE Prime beneficiaries do not need a referral for the first eight routine outpatient behavioral health visits per fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) for most categories of behavioral health providers. Avoid point-of-service charges by receiving care from a TRICARE-network provider.

Active duty servicemembers must have a referral from their primary care manager for all behavioral health care.

Family members using TRICARE Standard or Extra, as well as Reserve Component members and family members enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select, will be responsible for the annual deductible as well as applicable cost-shares associated with receiving care. For most categories of clinical behavioral health providers, no referrals are necessary under TRICARE Standard, Extra or TRS. After the initial eight outpatient visits each fiscal year, prior authorization from TriWest will be required. The behavioral health provider is responsible for requesting additional visits when medically necessary.

Certain categories of behavioral health providers (pastoral counselors, mental health counselors and licensed professional counselors) will always require a referral, even for the first eight visits.

TriWest's "Help From Home" offers many behavioral health resources, including: 

- The Behavioral Health Portal on www.triwest.com provides links to local and national resources as well as information on post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, stress, substance use, family issues and more. 

- An online post-deployment support video series is available on www.triwest.com. The Help From Home video series includes Getting Home ... All the Way Home, where behavioral health experts -- veterans themselves -- discuss common symptoms of combat stress and the importance of early detection and treatment, and On the Homefront, featuring military families who have faced the challenges of deployment and reintegration offering practical advice for families of military servicemembers. Beneficiaries, providers, military leaders and family support organizations throughout TRICARE's 21-state West Region may order a complimentary 2-DVD set. 

- Personalized depression support and education from a clinical health coach for eligible beneficiaries through TriWest's Condition (Disease) Management program. 

- Continuing education to help civilian health care providers in TRICARE's West Region identify and treat symptoms of combat stress or PTSD. 

- Annual sponsorship of Operation Purple summer camps, for the children of deployed servicemembers, and Wounded Warriors. 

- A toll-free Behavioral Health Crisis Line (1-866-284-3743), recently certified by the American Association of Suicidology, staffed 24/7 by trained clinicians, providing non-emergency behavioral health assistance to West Region beneficiaries. 

- A Behavioral Health Provider Locator and Appointment Assistance Service number (1-866-651-4970) available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in all West Region time zones to help Prime-enrolled active duty family members find local behavioral health care providers and set appointments; active duty servicemembers must have a referral from their PCM before making an appointment.

The Appointment Assistance Service is not a help line for treatment, counseling or advice. TRICARE beneficiaries seeking emergency behavioral health assistance should call 911, proceed to the nearest emergency room for treatment or call TriWest's Crisis Line.

For an overview of these benefits, visit the "Beneficiary Services" section on www.triwest.com then select Handbooks and Brochures and "Behavioral Health Care Benefits" to view a printable brochure. Visit the "Mental Health and Behavior" section at www.tricare.mil for specific coverage and associated costs.

TriWest recognizes the ongoing sacrifices of the military community and is committed to doing "Whatever It Takes" to assist Service members and their families. For further assistance, please contact TriWest at 1-888-TRIWEST (874-9378).