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TRICARE Patient Transfer Pilot

The TRICARE Patient Transfer Pilot will help us see if we can successfully transfer clinically-stable TRICARE beneficiaries from civilian emergency departments to military treatment facilities (MTFs) for inpatient care and treatment.

The TRICARE Patient Transfer Pilot began on July 25, 2016. 

How it Works

Infographic showing patient transfer process for the TRICARE Patient Transfer PilotTRICARE Beneficiary Participation

The pilot gives all TRICARE beneficiaries seen in designated civilian emergency departments who need inpatient care the option to transfer to a participating MTF for their inpatient care.

  • All non-active duty beneficiaries have the option to transfer; but they aren’t required to do so
  • Active duty service members may be required to transfer to an MTF

If a patient decides to stay at the civilian facility, civilian cost shares will apply. >>View Health Plan Costs

MTF Participation

Each participating MTF:

  • Works with their regional contractor to identify and educate civilian network facilities about the pilot
  • Determines their capabilities and capacities to accept patient transfers
  • Staffs a 24-hour Patient Transfer Center hotline to receive and respond to transfer requests

Regional Contractor Participation

The East and West regional contractors:

  • Work with their MTFs to identify and educate civilian network facilities about the pilot
  • Establish processes within civilian facilities to identify TRICARE beneficiaries and inform them about their option to transfer

Participating Military Treatment Facilities

State  Military Treatment Facilities
California 60th Medical Group, David Grant Medical Center
Florida  Naval Hospital Jacksonville
96th Medical Group, Eglin AFB
Maryland  Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Nevada  99th Medical Group, Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center
North Carolina Womack Army Medical Center 
Ohio 88th Medical Group - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center 
Texas San Antonio Military Medical Center
Virginia 633rd Medical Group, Joint Base Langley-Eustis
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
Washington Madigan Army Medical Center
Naval Hospital Bremerton

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is TRICARE launching the TRICARE Patient Transfer Pilot?


We want to evaluate the collaboration between our MTFs, the regional contractors and civilian emergency departments. The outcome may enable us to consider operational and financial changes needed to:

  • Optimize the capabilities of the Direct CareDirect care refers to military hospitals and clinics, also known as “military treatment facilities” and “MTFs.”direct care system
  • Support medical readiness
  • Enhance MTF provider efficiency and graduate medical education programs
  • Steward taxpayer dollars
  • Reduce beneficiary costs
  • Enhance beneficiary satisfaction

Why would beneficiaries want to transfer to a MTF?


Beneficiaries will need to decide based on their individual scenario. They may already have a doctor at the MTF they prefer to see or maybe moving to an MTF will save them money.


Is there any scenario when transferring to an MTF may not be the best option for beneficiaries?


A transfer won’t be recommended unless the patient is clinically stable and doctors at both facilities agree to the transfer. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision, and beneficiaries should consider:

  • The rules for their health plan (i.e. TRICARE PrimeA managed care option available in Prime Service Areas in the United States; you have an assigned primary care manager who provides most of your care.TRICARE Prime, TRICARE SelectStarting on January 1, 2018, TRICARE Select replaces TRICARE Standard and Extra. TRICARE Select is a self-managed, preferred provider network plan. TRICARE Select is a fee-for-service option in the United States that allows you to get care from any TRICARE-authorized provider.  Enrollment is required to participate. TRICARE Select, TRICARE For LifeMedicare-wraparound coverage for TRICARE-eligible beneficiaires who have both Medicare Part A and B.TRICARE For Life)
  • The type of care they need and how long they may be admitted
  • Which facility is more convenient for them (closer to home, etc.)
  • Costs for the care at a civilian facility compared to the MTF

What is the process for transferring from a civilian facility to an MTF?


Each MTF will establish its own process, but basically:

  • The civilian facility will contact the MTF Patient Transfer Hotline
  • The MTF decides if they will accept the transfer within 30 minutes
  • Patient transport is arranged within 30 minutes

MTFs and regional contractors will work with neighboring civilian facilities to inform them about the process and provide educational materials about the pilot.


How can I learn more about the TRICARE Patient Transfer Pilot?


For more information, contact a participating MTF using the links listed in the chart above.


If a non-active duty beneficiary accepts transfer from the civilian hospital to an MTF, who pays for the ambulance ride?


For the pilot, if either the civilian facility or the MTF makes the request, it is considered an "order" and allows TRICARE to cost share for the ambulance transport to the MTF. >>View Health Plan Costs

In some locations, the MTF may arrange for a contracted ambulance service at no cost to the beneficiary.

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