Oklahoma's Latest Farm
And Ranch News
Friday, November 4, 2022
Lucas Demands Accountability from Defense Health Agency to Keep Veterans' & Military Service Members' Prescription Access at Local Pharmacies
After hearing from constituents at recent town hall meetings and directly from rural and family-owned pharmacies who serve Oklahoma veterans, military family patients, and military patients themselves, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) yesterday sent a letter to Lieutenant General Ronald Place, the Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), expressing his concerns regarding the recent pharmacy contract that resulted in the separation of 15,000 independent or community pharmacies from the TRICARE system.

“Oklahoma is home to more than 290,000 veterans and thousands of active-duty military members and families who depend on TRICARE. I proudly represent many rural veterans who live in Oklahoma’s Third District and like many of them, I share deep concerns with recent changes announced by ESI regarding military beneficiary access to pharmacies as outlined by TPharm5. In my district alone, there are over 67 pharmacies who will no longer be a part of the ESI Pharmacy Services Administrative Organization (PSAO’s).”

As recently as 2021, over 56,000 pharmacy retailers were recognized within the TRICARE network. TRICARE beneficiaries include active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. However, as a result of ESI's newly negotiated contract on behalf of DHA, nearly 15,000 pharmacy retailers are no longer part of the TRICARE network, as of October 24th. The exodus of pharmacy retailers leaving the network leaves roughly 400,000 beneficiaries living in suburban, rural, and underserved communities with limited access to care- including thousands in Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District.

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