An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | Nov. 15, 2022

Walk-in Contraceptive Services Required at Hospitals and Clinics

By Janet A. Aker, MHS Communications

The Defense Health Agency is expanding walk-in contraceptive care services to improve reproductive health services.

These services include same-day access with no appointment or referral needed.

Walk-in contraception services let the patient discuss and receive their preferred and medically appropriate care to support family planning, menstrual health, pregnancy prevention, and for our active-duty personnel, readiness. This also will bring readily available contraceptive care to the increasing active-duty force who are female or who are able to get pregnant.

On Sept. 27, the DHA issued an Administrative Instruction outlining the requirements at military hospitals and clinics for these full-scope contraceptive services.

By January 2023, all DHA markets will define the location and hours of operation of walk-in services. The instruction aims to ensure active-duty service members and beneficiaries have access to important reproductive health care in the form of contraception at military hospitals and clinics.

These services “give time back to active-duty service members and promote autonomy in making a decision with the capacity for all types of contraception,” said Theresa Hart, senior nurse consultant at the DHA Women and Infant Clinical Community, Special Medical Programs.

Active-duty service members and other Military Health System beneficiaries will receive the full scope, to include oral, patches, rings, shots, rods, natural family planning, and IUDs in a single visit. This service eliminates the need for a referral to have an intrauterine device or birth control implant placed. Ensuring the providers have the skills, equipment, and team to provide the care on a walk-in basis is a leading practice to empower women to make timely decisions for their reproductive health.

“This is not just based on what a provider is comfortable with,’” Hart said, “and there is no need for a follow-up specialty appointment if the patient wants a long-acting contraceptive,” such as an intrauterine device or Depo-Provera injections.

Supporting Overall Well-being and Readiness

Contraceptive care walk-in services support the overall well-being of the force and optimize personal warrior readiness and family planning throughout their reproductive years, Hart said.

These services offer both beneficiaries and warriors the option of menstrual suppression, stopping monthly bleeding to improve hygiene, ability to deploy, and comfort for warfighters and beneficiaries alike.

Active-duty service members and beneficiaries have found there are benefits in decreasing menstrual periods, along with the physical symptoms and hormonal changes, Hart explained.

For one, it’s beneficial in deployed environments and to stay force fit.

“For the active-duty service members, not having menstrual periods during deployment means not having to carry months of feminine hygiene supplies and having to make do with austere environments where hygiene, washing, and privacy is in short supply,” she said.

“By preventing unplanned pregnancies, we're ensuring that we're not eliminating somebody from the fighting force for 18 months or more,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Jacqueline Lamme, who heads the OB-GYN services at Naval Hospital Bremerton in Washington.

Access to contraceptive care will also help beneficiaries with family planning.

“Because this access exists for our patients, no matter where they're stationed, we're both improving our patient's ability to plan their pregnancies and meet their family planning goals personally, as well as to positively impact unit readiness,” Lamme said.

The Benefits of Readily Available Contraceptive Care

Naval Hospital Bremerton has been meeting all the requirements of the Administrative Instruction since its walk-in services were opened in 2021, Lamme said. The U.S. Navy pioneered the concept, opening its first walk-in contraceptive services clinic in 2016.

“One of our clinic’s biggest successes is that we truly integrated the combination of specialties to provide this care within the OB-GYN clinic,” Lamme said. “We're staffed and patients are seen by a combination of the OB-GYN physicians, the clinic nurse-midwives, and both physicians and nurse practitioners from family medicine.”

The Administrative Instruction will also improve provider accessibility and productivity and improve patient satisfaction.

“Bremerton has the ability for some of the general medical officers that are local who need more practice with IUD placement, and other contraceptives, to come and work in our clinic,” Lamme said.

“By shadowing in a supervisory role, they become more comfortable so they can then take those skills out to their units in the fleet and maintain those skills while they're deployed. That collaboration also has been one of our largest successes,” she said.

Darnall-Hood Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Texas, is also extending its services to walk-in availability.

“The walk-in services offer another avenue to break down any barriers that patients might have to obtaining their contraception of choice and receiving pregnancy planning education,” said U.S. Army Col. Amanda Forristal, chief nursing officer for the hospital and the DHA’s Central Texas Market.

Currently, Darnall’s Family Medicine Residency Clinic offers walk-in services for women seeking contraception options that can be prescribed and picked up at the pharmacy the same day, such as oral contraception, patches, rings, and injections.

“We will run our pilot of the walk-in contraception clinic on November 17,” Forristal said, adding the monthly walk-in services will begin in January.

“This is also an opportunity for (service members) to receive care from a provider that is not also in their unit, whom they see on a more regular basis outside of the clinical setting and can be awkward for some,” Forristal added.

In the coming months, military hospitals and clinics across the Military Health System will offer these expanded services.

Resources

TRICARE has readily available information on contraceptive care.

Here's how to find out more about reproductive health, including the DHA Administrative Instruction.

Little girl brushes teeth

Need Dental Coverage? TRICARE Dental Program May...

News
Feb. 01, 2023

Are you an active duty family member without dental coverage? Or a National Guard or Reserve member? If yes,...
Read More
Passengers board an airplane

How to File Your TRICARE Claims Overseas

News
Jan. 30, 2023

Do you need to file a TRICARE Overseas claim for medical care or prescriptions you received overseas? If so,...
Read More
Service member gets flu vaccine

Protect Yourself From Respiratory Illness This W...

News
Jan. 24, 2023

Fevers and sniffles and coughs—oh my! Viruses like COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are...
Read More
Woman talking on phone

Update Your Other Health Insurance Info for TRICARE

News
Jan. 17, 2023

The new year is here, so it’s important to take stock of your family’s overall health plan coverage. This is...
Read More
A doctor sits at a desk

Start 2023 Knowing Your TRICARE Plan’s Catastrop...

News
Jan. 12, 2023

What will happen if doctor visits, medical tests, or even hospital stays start to pile up this year? How will...
Read More
TRICARE January webinar

Learn What’s New in TRICARE Pharmacy Program at ...

News
Jan. 10, 2023

What do recent changes to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program mean for you and your family? Do you need to take any...
Read More
Cigarettes

Resolve To Quit Tobacco With TRICARE’s Help

News
Jan. 04, 2023

Is quitting tobacco your New Year’s resolution? TRICARE and YouCanQuit2 have resources to help you start—and...
Read More
A serviceman is examined at the doctor's office.

Know These TRICARE Basics To Make the Most of Yo...

News
Dec. 28, 2022

Familiarizing yourself with your health plan is key to making the most of your benefits. Here are some TRICARE...
Read More

Feb. 1, 2023

Need Dental Coverage? TRICARE Dental Program May Be Right for You

Are you an active duty family member without dental coverage? Or a National Guard or Reserve member? If yes, the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) provides dental coverage around the world. And you may be eligible for TDP benefits.

Jan. 30, 2023

How to File Your TRICARE Claims Overseas

Do you need to file a TRICARE Overseas claim for medical care or prescriptions you received overseas? If so, it’s important to understand the different TRICARE Overseas claim submission methods available to you.

Jan. 24, 2023

Protect Yourself From Respiratory Illness This Winter

Fevers and sniffles and coughs—oh my! Viruses like COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are more common during the winter months. These viruses can cause severe illness in some people, so it’s important to know what to do if you feel under the weather.

Jan. 17, 2023

Update Your Other Health Insurance Info for TRICARE

The new year is here, so it’s important to take stock of your family’s overall health plan coverage. This is especially true when it comes to other health insurance (OHI). You may have had OHI last year, but now no longer. Or perhaps you’ve recently gained or changed OHI. In any of these cases, make sure your OHI information with TRICARE is current so your health care claims are processed accurately.

Jan. 12, 2023

Start 2023 Knowing Your TRICARE Plan’s Catastrophic Cap

What will happen if doctor visits, medical tests, or even hospital stays start to pile up this year? How will it affect your family’s finances? Fortunately, there’s a set maximum amount you’ll pay out of pocket each year for TRICARE covered services. This amount is known as the catastrophic cap, and it resets every year on Jan. 1.

Jan. 10, 2023

Learn What’s New in TRICARE Pharmacy Program at January Webinar

What do recent changes to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program mean for you and your family? Do you need to take any action? Learn more during a webinar, “What’s New in the TRICARE Pharmacy Program,” on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. Sign up now to attend.

Jan. 4, 2023

Resolve To Quit Tobacco With TRICARE’s Help

Is quitting tobacco your New Year’s resolution? TRICARE and YouCanQuit2 have resources to help you start—and finish—your journey to be tobacco-free.

Dec. 28, 2022

Know These TRICARE Basics To Make the Most of Your Plan

Familiarizing yourself with your health plan is key to making the most of your benefits. Here are some TRICARE basics to be familiar with.

Dec. 22, 2022

Changes to TRICARE Expected in 2024

A new TRICARE contract that facilitates beneficiary health care in the civilian sector, known as T-5, is expected to start in 2024. The changes will improve the delivery, quality, and cost of health care services for service members, retirees, and their families.

Dec. 21, 2022

4 Changes Coming to TRICARE Pharmacy Program in 2023

As the new year approaches, make sure you’re aware of changes to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program that may affect you. While these changes offer several enhancements, some of the changes may require action on your part. This will ensure you have access to the prescription drugs you and your family members need.

Learn More about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine.