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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Servicemembers in the Tricare Prime health program now can schedule appointments with their health-care providers via the Internet.

Tricare Online, located at www.tricareonline.com, allows patients to browse a 30- to 40- day calendar showing open slots, and then schedule their own appointment, according to Lora Sanders-VanNoy, a Tricare Pacific spokeswoman at Yokosuka’s U.S. Naval Hospital.

The new Web site offers more flexibility than a patient might expect when making an appointment over the phone.

Tricare Online “allows Tricare Prime beneficiaries to access available appointment slots at their convenience,” Sanders-VanNoy said. But, “appointments can still be made with the existing phone system.”

Users can create a journal to store medical history, care instructions and prescription information. The site offers “all the latest information and news for staying healthy,” Sanders-VanNoy said, such as details about illnesses, medications and treatment choices and side effects and possible harmful interactions of various prescriptions.

“Tricare Online also has specific answers to questions on child symptoms, medications and treatments, as well as fun and educational learning tools for children to browse on the site,” Sanders-VanNoy said.

The system became functional Tuesday for the Yokosuka hospital and its branch facilities at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station and Sasebo Naval Base, she added.

“Individual sites throughout all the Tricare service areas have individual operational dates,” she said. She advised prospective users to contact their military treatment facilities to learn the specific date for launching operations.

Tricare Online, available to all military branches, is a secure Defense Department Web site; all personal information stored on the site remains private, she said.

There is “no cost to the Tricare Prime patient for use of the Web site,” she added.

However, only servicemembers and their dependents enrolled in Tricare Prime can use the site.

Getting started

In addition to being Tricare Prime beneficiaries, servicemembers must do the following before they use the Tricare Online site, which is located at www.tricareonline.com:

Enroll in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS. This can be done at the local personnel office by submitting a DD-1172 form. One form must be filled out for each family member.

Register into the Composite Health Care System, or CHCS, at the base hospital. This is can be done in the outpatient records office.

Tricare Prime beneficiaries will be assigned a mandatory primary care manager when an enrollment form is filled out and submitted to the Tricare Service Center.

An individual account for each beneficiary is required on the Web site. To create an account, log on to the Web site, agree to the privacy and security policy, then click on the “enrollment” icon and follow the prompts.

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