Patients can take steps now to prepare for MHS GENESIS ‘Go Live’ Published Dec. 9, 2021 By Lori Newman Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The San Antonio Market, to include Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and the outlying clinics, will transition to MHS GENESIS on Jan. 22, 2022. MHS GENESIS is the new electronic health record for the Military Health System. The health record delivers data to healthcare teams wherever patients receive treatment -- whether it’s at a medical facility within the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Coast Guard. This record will stay with service members from the time of their enlistment through veteran status. “When fully deployed, MHS GENESIS will provide a single medical and dental record for service members, veterans and their families,” said Army Lt. Col. Dorian Walton, BAMC’s MHS GENESIS site lead. “Modernizing the electronic health record improves the quality, safety and continuity of care for our patients,” added Col. Patrick Osborn, chair, BAMC’s Informatics Steering Committee. In preparation for this new system, “the entire health care team has been diligently training on the system for months now and will continue to do so through our Go Live date,” he added. PATIENT IMPACT As the San Antonio Market transitions to MHS GENESIS, patients can expect to see an increase in wait times and a reduction in available appointments as healthcare teams adapt office and clinic practices to new, standardized workflows. Based on industry averages, and the DOD’s experience, it takes roughly 90 days for healthcare teams to adjust to the new system and return to normal wait times. “As with any new technology, it will take time for our staff to learn how to implement and navigate the system,” Walton explained. “This focus on training may result in longer than routine wait times for primary and specialty care appointments and at services such as pharmacy, lab and radiology. Over time, however, providers and patients should expect to see increased efficiencies across all healthcare activities.” PATIENT TIPS Patients can take steps now to prepare for the MHS GENESIS implementation, to include: Primary Care: If in need of a primary care appointment between December and January, patients should make their appointment as soon as possible to avoid delays during the MHS GENESIS transition. Same-Day Care: BAMC recommends first calling the appointment line at 210-916-9900, to check for open or re-opened appointments due to cancellations. If there is no availability, another option is to visit a TRICARE-authorized urgent care center for same-day, acute needs. Beneficiaries, other than active duty service members, DO NOT need a referral to receive care at a TRICARE-authorized urgent care center. Call The NAL: The Nurse Advice Line can triage and assist with obtaining appropriate care. Call the NAL at 800-874-2273, Option 1. Specialty Care: BAMC may need to temporarily defer specialty care to the network. For questions regarding a network referral, patients should contact their clinic or PCM team via secure message. Please ensure the clinic has the correct contact number on hand for referral purposes. Pharmacy: Beneficiaries should be sure to have prescription refills on hand or look into using a TRICARE network retail pharmacy or the mail-order service. For more information on home delivery, visit https://www.tricare.mil/homedelivery. New TRICARE pharmacy co-pays are effective Jan. 1 and are as follows: • Co-pays for a 90-day supply through home delivery: $12 for generics, $34 for a brand name, and $68 for non-formulary medications. • Co-pays for a 30-day supply at a Tricare network retail pharmacy: $14 for generics, $38 for a brand name, and $68 for non-formulary medications. • Active duty has no co-pays when using home delivery or retail pharmacies for covered medications. To prevent excessive wait times, the pharmacy will move to a drop-off and pick-up prescription service starting Jan. 17, 2022, until further notice. Patients requiring prescription refills in January should submit their refill requests prior to the GENESIS go-live date on Jan. 22, 2022. For faster refill prescription pickup services, the Pharmacy recommends patients use the ScriptCenter kiosk located inside the JBSA Exchange and the BAMC Medical Mall across from the pharmacy. The ScriptCenter, located in the Medical Mall, can be accessed 24 hours a day. Patients can ask the pharmacy staff for more information on how to use the ScriptCenter kiosk. Lab: Patients may experience longer wait times in outpatient sample collection areas while staff adjusts to the new processes. Please be on the lookout for additional information and alternate locations to have blood drawn. Radiology: Patients should make sure to get their routine radiology appointments taken care of early to avoid extended wait times. The Radiology Department expects delays in scheduling routine screening mammograms, MRIs, and ultrasounds. In order to provide patients with timely imaging exams, the department is deferring some of these exams to network partners. Screening mammograms do not require referrals to obtain care. TRICARE-approved network locations can be obtained by contacting the Consult Appointment Management Office (CAMO) at 210-916-9900 or TRICARE at 1-800-444-5445. Patients who get their care within the network can make an appointment at any TRICARE-authorized network service to avoid a delay. Immunizations: The BAMC Department of Family and Community Medicine Clinics (Moreno Family Medicine Services, Schertz Medical Home, Taylor Burk Medical Home, and Westover Medical Home) have moved from walk-in appointments to pre-booked appointments for all immunizations. Appointments will be booked through CAMO (210-916-9900). Patients assigned to Moreno Family Medicine Services, Schertz Medical Home, Taylor Burk Medical Home and Westover Medical Home may continue to receive routine immunizations during a scheduled wellness appointment. MHS GENESIS PATIENT PORTAL The MHS GENESIS Patient Portal will replace TRICARE Online after the records transfer using the same DS Logon access, https://myaccess.dmdc.osd.mil/. Patients can also access their online health records by using a Common Access Card or DFAS account credentials. The Portal will provide 24/7 secure access to personal health information, including lab results, prescription refills, secure messages with care teams, and more. “As long as one of those credentials – DS Logon, CAC or DFAS – are active, patients will have immediate access to the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal and the functionality that comes with it,” Walton said. While patients will be able to view their health information, they will not have the ability to make appointments through the GENESIS Portal at this time. Beneficiaries are encouraged to register for access to the new Patient Portal if they have not used DS Logon previously. Visit https://patientportal.mhsgenesis.health.mil. Additionally, “If you get care off the post, we want to ensure your information is updated and available in MHS GENESIS,” Walton said. “Please ask your network provider, lab or other services to fax your medical records to 1-877-875-0060.” The Defense Health Agency recommends keeping personal copies of paper records. If feasible, scan the hardcopy documents to digital and back up on an external hard drive, ensuring proper physical and digital storage safeguards to protect personal information. “We ask for your support, patience and understanding as we work to implement this new system to improve your healthcare,” Osborn said.