This blog is the most recent in a series helping members of the Coast Guard family understand how to use their TRICARE benefits. The blog series will continue every Monday, right here on Coast Guard All Hands.
Written by Cmdr. Paul Fawcett, chief of Medical Administration for Coast Guard’s Office of Health, Safety and Work-Life
If you are a uniformed service member you can view some parts of your medical record online. The TRICARE patient portal, allows you access to your records and potentially the ability to make appointments online if you are enrolled to a DOD Medical Treatment Facility. You won’t be able to see your full record, but you can view some helpful items.
The TRICARE Patient Portal
The TRICARE Patient Portal has several functions available. These include:
- Blue Button
- RX Refill
- Service separation
- Nurse Advice Line
If you are not enrolled to a Coast Guard clinic or DOD military treatment facility, the only function that will work will be the nurse advice line function, which will provide you with information as to what the Nurse Advice Line is and how to reach it (1-800-874-2273). The Nurse Advice Line (NAL) can provide eligible beneficiaries with assistance in directing you to the appropriate level of care such as recommending an urgent care center vs. an emergency room. The NAL cannot make appointments at Coast Guard clinics for you.
- Lab results
- Radiology results
- Problem list
Some of these data fields will only be complete if you have been seen at a DOD facility as they will be drawn directly from programs that the DOD has but the Coast Guard does not. This data can be helpful to you in managing your medications and refills and other data. If you are enrolled to a DOD treatment facility for your primary care, you will find considerably more information available to you in the Blue Button function. If the Blue Button only shows part of your medical record and you’re separating from the service and want your medical record, see your Coast Guard clinic or DOD treatment facility to make a copy before you retire. In no case should you take your original record. Your original record will be scanned and uploaded to a database that will make your medical records available to the VA, should you file a claim for compensation or need treatment from the VA.
The service separation function should not be used by Coast Guard members as the Coast Guard has its own transition program, which differs from DOD. If you’re looking for information on the Coast Guard Transition Assistance Program, you should contact your Coast Guard Work-Life office to see what resources are available including the five-day Transition Seminar and other appropriate steps.
The appointments and medication refills function in the TRICARE Patient Portal will only work if you are enrolled to a DOD treatment facility. If you’re enrolled at a Coast Guard facility you should follow your clinic’s local procedures for making a medical or dental appointment. If you have a network doctor, contact your provider to schedule an appointment if you need to be seen.