How to Help: Delay Routine and Elective Medical and Dental Procedures

4/9/2020

To keep up with self-distancing practices due to COVID-19, you should strongly consider rescheduling certain medical and dental appointments. Your health care provider may have already contacted you to reschedule your appointment. Be sure to check on the availability of telehealth and teledentistry appointments as an option to address your health care. 

At Military Hospitals and Clinics

Because of COVID-19, military hospitals, clinics, and dental facilities have already postponed most:

  • Elective surgeries

  • Invasive procedures

  • Routine dental appointments

Talk to your military health care provider whether this affects you. This pause affects appointments scheduled from March 31 to May 30.

How do you know if your procedure is elective? Elective medical procedures range from mole and wart removal to laser surgery and most joint replacements. Routine dental procedures range from dental cleanings and sealants to orthodontic maintenance and removal of wisdom teeth. These procedures are typically scheduled in advance. Delaying them generally won’t cause harm. These procedures should be completed once the situation will allow it.

What if my procedure is an exception? Your military health care provider may decide your procedure is an exception if:

  • Postponing your procedure would cause great long-term harm to you

  • There’s adequate capacity to safely authorize your procedure

  • Your procedure is needed for service member readiness

The temporary pause aims to:

  • Conserve health care resources for the fight against COVID-19. Resources include people as well as personal protective equipment. This includes masks, gloves, and gowns.

  • Protect you and your providers from increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • Conserve time, energy, and strain on the health care force while it meets COVID-19 demands.

Outside Military Hospitals and Clinics

Based on the recommendation of the U.S. Surgeon General and executive orders by some State Governors, other providers are adopting similar policies. If you have an appointment or procedure scheduled within the next few months, talk to your provider about whether to reschedule or set up a telehealth or teledentistry appointment if available. Your provider may contact you to do the same.

The Department of Defense and the Defense Health Agency are closely monitoring all COVID-19 developments. Don’t miss new and updated COVID-19 information and resources by visiting the TRICARE coronavirus guidance page. You can also visit the TRICARE coronavirus FAQs page for more information to help you stay up to date. As always, stay safe and take command of your health.

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Last Updated 4/13/2020