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Ask the Doc Seeking: Advice on Advice

Image of FORT CARSON, Colo. — Janie Frey, left, from the Family Care Ward, and Teressa Harris, right, both registered nurses at Evans Army Community Hospital, from the Intensive Care Unit, answer phone calls Aug. 5 from the COVID-19 patient advice line. FORT CARSON, Colo. — Janie Frey, left, from the Family Care Ward, and Teressa Harris, right, both registered nurses at Evans Army Community Hospital, from the Intensive Care Unit, answer phone calls Aug. 5 from the COVID-19 patient advice line.

Dear Doc: I've heard about something called the Nurse Advice Line, but don't know anything else about it. During the height of COVID-19, there were a few times I probably should have talked to someone about things like headaches, body pain, and allergies, but I didn't know if it required a trip to my military medical treatment facility during a pandemic (and honestly don't know if I would have gone during "normal" times). Usually, I just let whatever it is subside, but it would be nice to have someone to talk to and get advice on things that might not necessarily be worth coming in for...or maybe figuring out if I should, depending on the severity.

So, I guess I'm asking – what is the Nurse Advice Line, what can it be used for, and how can I find out more information about it? Thanks in advance.

Seeking Advice on Advice

Illustration of a female face with the words "Ask the Doc"

Dear Advice: I don't think I could have found a more perfect person to answer your question. U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Bobby Taylor is the program manager for the Nurse Advice Line. Here's what he had to say:


The MHS Nurse Advice Line (NAL) is a telehealth nurse triage service for those seeking care or who have medical questions. The telephone hotline provides instant access to a team of registered nurses who can answer urgent and acute healthcare questions. The NAL provides TRICARE beneficiaries an assessment of their symptoms and what next steps they should take.

Image for Nurse Advice Line

If a visit with your provider is recommended, the NAL can book an appointment for you. The NAL is also able to book virtual (telephone) visits with your provider, if available. They can also help you to find an urgent care or emergency care location if needed.

During these challenging times, it can be tough to know when to seek medical attention for health problems. Being able to consult with a trusted medical professional at any time. 

You can call the NAL, toll-free and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your urgent medical needs at 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273) Option 1. Video and chat options are also available online at MHSNurseAdviceLine.com. Beneficiaries can still call their PCM or clinic for medical advice and appointments. For more information about the NAL, visit the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line webpage

Thank you for reaching out to the NAL Program Office.


Advice, I hope you feel a little better informed after Lt. Taylor's explanation. The Nurse Advice Line is just another way for us (the MHS) to better assist you in your health care needs. It gives you the opportunity to speak to an expert about any medical concerns you may have and what steps you may need to take going forward.

Also, as the lieutenant said, the options you had in the past are still there.

So...next time you're feeling bad, don't hesitate to use it. It certainly couldn't hurt (no pun intended). The Advice Line is quite literally there to help you.

Take care out there!

-Doc

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