An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | Feb. 16, 2024

Navigating care: A guide to WHASC Patient Travel Program

By Staff Sgt. Kelsey Martinez 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

For military retirees and beneficiaries, accessing specialized care is made easier with Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center’s Patient Travel Program.

Through its comprehensive support and commitment, navigating medical care becomes a smoother journey for all involved.

The program welcomes all TRICARE Prime beneficiaries, including active duty personnel, retirees, and dependents.

For more information, call 210-292-0337 or visit the 59th Medical website at hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“The Patient Travel Program offers reimbursement for medical referrals over 100 miles from Wilford Hall or other Military Treatment Facilities,” said Staff Sgt. Rebecca Miranda, 59th Medical Support Squadron Patient Travel noncommissioned officer in charge. “Patient travel covers expenses such as lodging, airfare, mileage, and meals.”

Patient Travel serves as a liaison, guiding beneficiaries through the necessary steps for the Defense Travel System, or DTS. By assisting, the program ensures beneficiaries receive the proper pay without facing additional stress.

“For active duty members, coordination is done through Defense Travel System (DTS) where they can manage their authorizations and vouchers, but can contact Patient Travel with any questions,” said Senior Airman Andres Gonzales, 59th Medical Support Squadron patient travel technician. “However, for dependents without DTS or government computer access, we take on their DTS-related tasks which include handling authorizations, collecting receipts, and ensuring all required documentation is in place for vouchers.”

The documentation required for completing the authorization process includes:
1. Patient travel checklist: This checklist ensures that all necessary steps and documents are completed before travel.
2. Referrals: Referral documents from healthcare providers at WHASC indicating the need to travel for medical care.
3. Confirmation of care: Documentation showing that the beneficiary received care at the designated facility, such as confirmation from the care facility or receipts.

“Beneficiaries have up to one year from the date of their appointment to submit reimbursement requests for travel expenses. However, all necessary documentation must be provided,” Gonzales said. “Once the one-year period expires, beneficiaries are no longer eligible for reimbursement for that specific trip.”

Contacting the office at least five days before travel is recommended for timely arrangements. Clear communication ensures a smooth process, with the team available for assistance.

“The patient travel program covers a wide range of services, and each case is assessed individually, so it's advisable to reach out to us even if you're unsure whether your needs are covered,” said Airman 1st Class Pedro Mourin, 59th Medical Support Squadron patient travel technician. “It's best to contact us directly to explore your options, as we may be able to assist you with more than you expect.”

Establishing the Patient Travel Office at the WHASC marks a crucial advancement in prioritizing patient-centered care. Mourin had the chance early in his career to contribute to launching the program, aiming to simplify patient access to specialized care.

“My experience has been unique as I had the opportunity to establish the first patient travel office here, which required me to gain in-depth knowledge of patient travel processes,” Mourin said. “This ensures that we can provide the best possible care for our patients and for me that is extremely fulfilling.”

The Patient Travel Program is more than financial help; it's a lifeline for those in need. Patients are encouraged to rely on it, knowing they'll receive care and support every step of the way.

“Encountering individuals during their most trying times is truly humbling for me. Knowing that our Patient Travel Program can offer some relief from the financial burdens they face is incredibly rewarding” he shared. “Our goal is to enable them to prioritize their health above all else, allowing them to focus solely on their recovery journey without the added stress of financial concerns.”

To Enroll in TRICARE, contact TRICARE Enrollment at 844-866-9378. To check the status of a referral, contact the Consult and Appointment Management Office at 210-916-9900

For more information on military healthcare, visit To view medical records, log into the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal. For Benefit and Referral information, visit Humana.