Originally created 09/17/97

Claims Tricare Prime retirees shut out



I read The Chronicle's Aug. 31 interview with Gen. Robert F. Griffin and was disappointed. I was particularly disturbed by his disingenuous response to The Chronicle's question, "Are people who are not enrolled in Tricare Prime still able to get care at Eisenhower?"

Gen. Griffin did not answer the question. He spoke to Medicare subvention, which, while a related topic, applies to retirees 65 or more years old.

I'm retired military, as is my wife. Between us we had almost 50 active duty years. We are not close to 65 years old so, at this point, we are not affected by the Medicare subvention issue. But, we live almost 50 miles from Eisenhower and we are seriously affected by DOD's and Eisenhower's implementation of Tricare.

To answer The Chronicle's question for Gen. Griffin, we non-Tricare Prime retirees cannot make a routine appoinment in any of the clinics at Eisenhower, and we can get just a one-time prescription refill. We are allowed to call only after 9 a.m. for a same-day appointment.

But consider the possibilities and their probabilities, remembering that for us it's at least a one-hour drive to Eisenhower Medical Center: The probability of getting a morning appointment is virtually zero; the probability of getting seen in the afternoon is not much better. And, we are required to go through this "drill" each and every day if we need to see a doctor, and, don't forget, to get a prescription filled we need to see a doctor.

The bottom line is this: non-Tricare Prime retirees at Eisenhower are shut out. ...

Mike MacDonald, McCormick