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News | June 10, 2024

Unlock Your Health With Patient Advocates and Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators

By Military Health System Communications

Did you know that military hospitals and clinics come with a support staff of people who can help you navigate the health care process? These include patient advocates and Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators (BCACs). You can find them at military hospitals and clinics in the National Capital Region.

“You may have questions or concerns about TRICARE coverage, costs, or the quality of care at a military hospital or clinic. Patient advocates and BCACs are people you can contact,” said Calvin Keller, Health Systems Analyst, Benefit Education & Research Team at the Defense Health Agency. “They’re committed to answering your questions and addressing your concerns both with the facility and with TRICARE contractors.”

Which resource should you contact, and when? That depends on the type of question, issue, or concern you have. Read below to learn about patient advocates and BCACs—how they differ and how you can get in touch when you need one.

What is the role of the patient advocate?

You may have already heard about patient advocates. Every military hospital or clinic has a patient advocate, and many have unit/section patient advocates, too. They are the go-to resource when you have concerns or questions about health care services you received at a military hospital or clinic. Or perhaps you just want to let someone know about a great experience you had at a military hospital or clinic. Patient advocates are trained experts ready to provide a copy and explain the content of the Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. They’re also there for you when you or a family member has a concern you’d like addressed, investigated, and resolved.

If you have a question or concern, contact the patient advocate. Their responsibilities include:

  • Listening to patient concerns
  • Responding in a timely way to complaints
  • Explaining military hospital or clinic policies, procedures, and operations
  • Mediate concerns between the patient and medical team

What is the role of the Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator?

Like the patient advocate, BCACs serve as your advisor. However, the BCAC’s main job is to help you understand and access TRICARE benefits and services to meet your health care needs.

BCACs can explain your TRICARE plan and how your benefit works. They interact with other hospital staff members, regional contractors, and claims processors to help resolve your concerns, as well.

BCACs can address TRICARE-related questions including:

How do you find a patient advocate or BCAC?

Each military hospital or clinic has contact information for the patient advocate and BCAC. You can ask the hospital staff for their office location. Or you can look up their information online on the Find a Military Hospital or Clinic page. You can also find contact information for BCACs using the Customer Service Community Directory.

It’s important to know what resources are available to help you make the best health care decisions for you and your family. If you have questions or concerns about your care, don’t hesitate to seek help from a patient advocate or BCAC.

Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.