E-mail service gets healthy use

Demand for the Army Medical Command's e-mail help service is growing by more than 30 percent per quarter, according to Army officials.

The e-mail service, known as the Tricare Help E-Mail Service (THEMS), is becoming one of the most popular ways for beneficiaries to get answers. Tricare is the health care program shared by all of the military services — the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.

THEMS, implemented in April 1999, is growing rapidly because the medical officials provide "fast, accurate and complete answers to Tricare questions and assist beneficiaries in resolving their Tricare problems," said Maj. Howard Schellenberg, THEMS program manager.

"Our service is there to supplement the great efforts of everyone who helps the customer," Schellenberg said. "There should always be many different ways to get Tricare help, and we work with other services to form an effective support network."

THEMS enables soldiers and their families with access to a computer at work or home to e-mail their Tricare questions, issues or concerns to Tricare_help@amedd.army.mil.

"We are not an Internet site where you have to find your own answer by sorting through a frequently-asked questions section," said Jack Desmond, operations manager for THEMS. "Everyone who sends us a question receives an individual answer from a real person, not a form letter or computer-generated response."

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