JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
To ensure Brooke Army Medical Center healthcare professionals are poised to support an increased need for acute patient care and minimize risk to all, certain services and programs have been delayed/reduced at this time, hospital officials said March 22.
During this time of national emergency, BAMC is committed to providing timely access to medical care for those who need it the most while protecting patients and staff from unintended illness resulting from exposure to others. The following list has details about the affected areas. BAMC will update this list as the situation evolves, so keep an eye out for additional changes.
For those who think they have COVID-19, stay home and take care of yourself and avoid contact with others as much as possible. For questions or symptoms you’d like to discuss with a healthcare professional, call the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line, or NAL, at 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), option 1, visit MHSNurseAdviceLine.com for a web or video chat, or send a secure message through the TOL Secure Messaging function.
Beneficiaries also can call the Consult Appointment Management Office, or CAMO, at 210-916-9900, which can offer in-person appointments or even virtual appointments from their home.
BAMC primary care clinics have shifted to providing primarily urgent and virtual access. As a result, BAMC is delaying care for selected routine needs such as well-child visits not requiring vaccines, well-woman exams, and annual/sport physicals.
Any currently scheduled visits for these reasons will be cancelled and patients will be placed on a wait list to be rescheduled when operations normalize. Patients will be called if their appointment has been affected.
Requests for medication renewals, laboratory results, radiology results, respiratory symptoms and urinary tract infection symptoms will be booked as telephonic virtual visits. These visits will be conducted over the phone by a clinic nurse.
If a patient requires a face-to-face visit, one will be provided by the nurse at the time of the call. There may be other healthcare needs or concerns that our staff will facilitate through telephonic virtual visits as appropriate.
BAMC is requesting that all non-urgent care (i.e. care for chronic medical conditions, orthopedic conditions more than six weeks old, etc.) defer during this time. If a patient feels they are unable to safely defer care, we ask that they use the TOL secure messaging function to send a message to their medical team or submit a telephone consult request through CAMO or the clinic. Someone will respond as quickly as possible to address your concerns.
Elective procedures such as bronchoscopies and colonoscopies are being postponed and currently scheduled procedures will be rescheduled at a later date when normal operations resume. Medical subspecialty clinics have shifted to providing primarily virtual consults with face-to-face appointments and procedures as needed on an urgent basis.
All elective surgical cases are being postponed, and surgical clinics will shift to providing primarily urgent and virtual access.
Any currently scheduled routine surgical consultations and follow-up visits will be rescheduled when this crisis has averted. You will be called if your scheduled surgery or appointment has been affected and provided a new appointment date at that time. Military medical readiness requirements will not be affected.
Department of Orthopedics
The Department of Orthopedics is not performing elective procedures at this time. They will still care for fractures and musculoskeletal problems that need to be addressed acutely. Patients with chronic and elective problems are being rescheduled until further notice.
Department of Pediatrics
BAMC Pediatrics will continue to do all newborn appointments for children under a month old. They will also continue “well baby” appointments for 2-, 4-, 6-, 12-month and 4-year-old children for vaccines only. The 12 and 15-month vaccines will be consolidated into the 12-month visit.
The pediatrics clinic will defer most 9-month-old well baby vaccines, unless there is a specific concern. If so, a provider will evaluate the child via a virtual health visit and determine if they should come to be seen. CAMO will refer all requests for well-baby exams to the clinics where it will be booked by the clinic.
For pediatric subspecialty referrals, pediatrics will continue to see emergency consults and those appointments the provider deems time sensitive. For emergency and referrals needed within 72 hours, the provider ordering the consult will contact the specialist directly.
For general pediatrics, adolescent clinic and pediatric subspecialties, most routine consults and follow ups will be deferred until further notice.
The Exceptional Family Member Program office is working under reduced hours but is continuing to process EFMP packets as fast as possible; however, please be patient as delays are anticipated.
Department of Anesthesia
The Pre- Admissions Unit, or PAU, has cancelled all scheduled clinic appointments, but will still be open for walk-in appointments.
Department of Radiology
Radiology has shifted to providing primarily urgent/emergent imaging. As a result, radiology is delaying care for many screening and non-urgent exams. This most notably applies to routine annual screening mammography, initial evaluation for non-urgent problems, and follow-up imaging for non-urgent problems.
Any currently scheduled visits for these reasons will be rescheduled or placed on a wait list to be rescheduled when operations normalize. Patients will be called if their appointment has been impacted.
BAMC is requesting all non-urgent imaging needs (i.e. screening exams, imaging for chronic medical conditions, orthopedic conditions more than 6 weeks old, etc.) defer during this time.
The Department of Radiology will continue to support the imaging needs of patients (as determined necessary by their healthcare providers), providers, and our healthcare system.
Obstetrical imaging will continue for both routine and urgent needs. Breast imaging will continue to be available for patients with new or enlarging breast lumps or other concerning symptoms. Imaging will also continue to be supported for patients undergoing cancer evaluation or treatment.
Department of Optometry
All routine eye care has been postponed through May 10, 2020, for all patient categories. However, the Department of Optometry will be available for eye and vision urgencies - i.e. eye trauma, eye pain, red eyes, eye discharge, loss of vision, double vision, or flashes, floaters, or curtains in vision.
The department will also be available to active duty personnel for readiness-related eye exams, optical ordering, optical repair and required physicals. Patients can speak directly with a provider for eye questions, medication refills, and spectacle prescription rewrites by contacting the front desk at 210-916-1717. Hours of operation will remain 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Department of Pharmacy
All BAMC pharmacies have instituted a drop-off prescription process to reduce the number of patients waiting in the pharmacy area. Patients who drop off their prescriptions before noon will have a pick up time of after 2 p.m. the same day. Patients who drop off their prescriptions after noon will be able to receive their prescriptions the next business day after 9 a.m.
As an exception, patients who are currently on antibiotics, physically disabled or picking up their prescriptions will be allowed to wait in the pharmacy area. All refill requests must be called in via the automated phone line or by using TRICARE Online.
Patrons should keep in mind they have the option to get a 90-day supply of medications via TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or at retail network pharmacies (three, 30-day supplies at the cost of three copayments). Consider using home delivery to conveniently access maintenance medications (drugs regularly taken for a chronic condition) without leaving home. Visit https://militaryrx.express-scripts.com/home-delivery for more information.
Release of Information
The Release of Information section will temporarily suspend walk-in services until further notice. All requests received will be processed via fax, email, or mail. Additional information can be found at the following website: https://www.bamc.health.mil/departments/pad/release-of-information.asp or by calling 210-916-1157.
BAMC Chapel Services
All worship services in the BAMC Chapel have been cancelled until further notice, to include weekly Bible study. To speak with a chaplain, call 210-916-1105.