BAMBERG, Germany — Medical referrals for Tricare customers in Europe should soon be processed more quickly, Tricare officials say, because additional staff is being added to deal with the large volume of calls.

Since Tricare’s new Overseas Program launched Sept. 1, customers have been experiencing a delay in receiving referrals for care from the service contract provider, International SOS.

“The volume of referrals in Europe was higher than we anticipated,” said Austin Camacho a spokesman for Tricare Management Activity. “Consequently, our overseas contractor, International SOS, was unprepared for the volume of referrals coming into their London center, which makes host-nation medical appointments.”

ISOS has begun adding more staff, and officials are now prioritizing referrals.

“Appointment requests are being prioritized so that acute medical issues and obstetrics referrals will be appointed first,” said Rear Adm. Christine Hunter, deputy director of Tricare Management Activity.

Military treatment facilities in Europe also have been given permission on a temporary basis to refer patients to local treatment facilities as much as possible, Camacho said.The problems should be resolved soon, he said.

“We expect all new and urgent referrals to be processed within Tricare Service Standard by the middle of next week,” said Camacho.

Patients who are having difficulty accessing care can call International SOS Medical Assistance line at 0044-20-8762-8133.

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