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A Lifeline for Military Families: Our Commitment to Care

Wednesday, June 5, 2024
by Kathleen Redd, President and CEO, Health Net Federal Services



Nearly a quarter of military families have children with at least one specialty care need. These needs range from basic speech therapy to complex neurological treatment requiring the support of several specialists. For parents, the additional realities of serving in the military, such as trainings, deployments, and relocations, make providing care and support even more challenging.

At Health Net Federal Services (HNFS), supporting military families and children during these challenging times is not just a duty; it is our passion and purpose. With nearly 40 years of managed care service to TRICARE beneficiaries, HNFS has worked with the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to help families with exceptional children navigate a complex and changing system of resources and services.

An important key to help these families is assigning case managers who understand the TRICARE benefit and use their experience to offer support. These guides are the experts at helping families during some of their most vulnerable times—the moment a child’s medical need is identified and when a relocation has been assigned. These events can require a monumental effort to ensure that the necessary equipment and care team are in place so that service members can fulfill their obligation to their families while simultaneously serving our country. 

Assisting in the coordination effort involves working closely with the family, TRICARE providers, community providers, medical equipment vendors, pharmacies, military hospital and clinics, service organizations, medical transportation services, and more. Coordination with each is essential to the well-being of children from military families. 

In the TRICARE West Region alone, the HNFS case management team has worked with hundreds of families to coordinate care for newly identified cases of unmet medical needs and completed numerous important transitions for children with specialty care requirements over the past year. Of these transitions, many were for children with severe needs, including those requiring continuous ventilator support, pediatric cardiac care, and neurological care.

In addition to ensuring coordination and continuation of care, the HNFS medical management team is taking part in efforts to improve how the military responds to and supports complex diagnoses and populations. These efforts include supporting families and beneficiaries with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Getting children connected to providers and local resources to fully support their primary and secondary conditions is paramount to the growth and development of children with ASD. Over the past year, HNFS has supported thousands of children by assigning autism service navigators who can help families plot a course of action for a new diagnosis or who need support as the beneficiary grows. 

For those eligible, our autism service navigators support families to ensure access to TRICARE benefits, Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) services, local and state programs, and assist in coordinating care. They also offer training on coverage guidelines and TRICARE requirements. This vital role provides consistent, proactive, and quality support to beneficiaries diagnosed with ASD. 

Because of these accomplishments, this is not the time to pause, there is still much work to be done. Supporting the needs of military families and children is not just a duty; it is the passion and purpose of Health Net Federal Services. Our commitment remains steadfast in our pursuit of the highest quality care and support for our military children.