Thinking about urgent care? The Nurse Advice Line can help

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When an urgent health problem arises, it is hard to know whether you should try to tough it out or seek medical care.

Luckily, TRICARE beneficiaries can call the Nurse Advice Line to get advice on their health care questions. Not all health problems require a visit with a medical specialist, but a registered nurse at the NAL can help you make the decision on whether you should seek care at an urgent care center. While going to an urgent care clinic for a high fever or a sprained ankle may seem like the easiest option, if you call the NAL first you can save time and money.

The NAL is made up of a team of registered nurses, who can answer your healthcare questions. There is always a person on the line to answer your concerns. When you call, the nurse will ask several medical questions based on your symptoms. These questions were developed by physicians to help the RNs get the most accurate assessment of your medical problem.

If you are not calling for yourself, make sure that the family member in question is present, so you can assess their condition as the nurse asks questions.

If self-care is recommended, the nurse may provide you with advice on home treatments and remedies. However, if you or your family member needs an urgent care appointment, the NAL will help you with next steps.

If you are on TRICARE Prime and enrolled to a medical treatment facility or clinic, the NAL will try to schedule a same or next-day appointment for you. If you are a TRICARE Prime beneficiary enrolled to a MTF and the NAL is unable to get you an appointment in your MTF when you need it, the NAL will follow-up with your MTF to ensure your urgent care referral is submitted. If you are a Prime beneficiary and receive care through the civilian network, and the NAL determines you need urgent care, contact your primary care manager for care or to obtain a referral to an urgent care facility.

The NAL is an easy option for beneficiaries to get information on their medical problems quickly and at any time.

To access the NAL dial (800) TRICARE (874-2273) and select option 1. Get more information about the NAL on the TRICARE Web site.