FACT SHEET PHARMACY OPERATIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
March 3 0 , 20 2 0
Today, the Department issued guidance directing that all Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) review their current pharmacy programs when considering curtailment of Services to their Beneficiaries. https://Health.mil/COVIDPharmacyguidance
In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and emergency declarations, the Department must take immediate action to ensure the readiness posture of the United States Military. With growing concerns of coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting our communities, pharmacy services in the MTF’s must be diligent in following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to protect themselves and pharmacy beneficiaries.
The DOD remains committed to addressing patient concerns and care, and maintaining our capabilities for the national response – all while maintaining the readiness of our military force.
WHY IS THIS ACTION BEING TAKEN?
In order to maintain patient and personnel safety, The Department will take actions as prescribed by Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Risk Levels and health official’s guidance and will adjust our pharmacy operations as necessary. The goal is to limit disruptions to service. We must, however, take appropriate safety measures in accordance with risk levels as they are elevated due to COVID-19.
Careful local assessments will determine the status of each individual military pharmacy and may result in temporary measures to adapt to this changing situation. In extreme circumstances, there may be temporary, partial or full limitations of Military MTF Pharmacy services. These will be temporary solutions that will be assessed daily.
The Department is committed to maintaining the support for our active duty forces, which remains the Department’s top priority.
The Defense Health Agency’s focus is to ensure our Military MTF’s align with actions being taken across the nation to conserve vital healthcare resources for expected surges in the COVID-19 public health emergency.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
The Director of the Defense Health Agency is providing guidance to Military MTF Directors when considering diversion of non-Active duty and non- active duty family members to home 2 delivery and retail network pharmacies in a step-wise approach, first displacing beneficiaries that are not enrolled to a MTF and then as conditions at higher levels of HPCON change, to consider displacing by beneficiary category starting with Retirees and their family members.
Every MTF Director who has a pharmacy facility within their MTF will receive several documents to educate their specific audiences to include senior mission commander, installation personnel and their beneficiaries. The Military MTF Director will brief the Installation Commander prior to any service degradation.
MTF pharmacies will be directed to follow Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Actions which include the following:
Promote use of TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery and retail network pharmacies
Implement virtual appointments for Clinical Pharmacy encounters
Strongly encourage PPE for those who are interacting with patients
Modifying patient care/waiting areas to promote social distancing
Limit waiting rooms to a single point of entry for patients
Provide early refills where appropriate
Implement plans to accommodate high risk patients (curbside service, designate alternate medication pick up locations, etc.)
Implement prescription drop off and pick up only processes
Q1: Will my military pharmacy be closing? Will I be able to get my medications from a military pharmacy?
A1: In order to maintain patient and personnel safety amidst COVID-19, we will take actions as prescribed by Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Risk Levels and health official’s guidance and will adjust our Military Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) Pharmacy operations as necessary.
Careful local assessments will determine the status of each individual military pharmacy and may result in temporary measures to adapt to this changing situation. In extreme circumstances, there may be temporary, partial or full limitations of MTF Pharmacy services. These will be temporary solutions that will be assessed daily.