Hurricane evacuation and your benefits Published Aug. 3, 2007 By Lt. Col. Blake Brewer 45th Medical Support Squadron commander PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- It's that time of year again to start personal preparation for hurricane evacuation. Not only is it important to safeguard your home and family, it is also critical to understand what health care benefits you have access to while evacuated. The following are key areas to focus on in the event of a disaster. Important things to remember about TRICARE if an evacuation is ordered: Make sure you have your military identification and TRICARE Prime card. Only seek health care for acute needs; wait until you return for routine care. Contact a local military medical treatment facility at your evacuation point for further guidance. Contact Humana at 1-(800)-444-5445 for benefit questions. Contact the clinic appointment line number for updated information at 494-8241 or 1 888-PAT-CURE. Important things to remember about the pharmacy if an evacuation is ordered: Keep a written record of your current prescription(s) in your valuable papers file to include current dosage and doctor's contact information. Check the label to verify there are refills left on your current prescription. If there are no refills left, contact your provider immediately to issue new prescription(s). Request refills in advance to prevent delays. The pharmacy will accommodate early refills only if you have less than 30 days of medication on hand during a hurricane evacuation. Have a 14-day supply of routine medications on hand at all times. Have additional paper prescriptions written by your provider in case the pharmacy is not available for an extended amount of time. Have bottles or packages with legible labels in waterproof bags even if the container is empty. If the base is closed, take all bottles or packages with labels to a network pharmacy. Discuss with your pharmacy or pharmacist concerning the shelf life of medications. If your medications require refrigeration, there are special medical coolers available on the market that will help keep your medication(s) at the proper temperature for an extended period of time. Protect medications from heat, humidity and/or direct sunlight. Be sure and call the pharmacy; do to time-critical actions, do not rely on refill answering service. If people have any questions, they should call the TRICARE office at 494-8459 or the Patrick Pharmacy at 494-2141. Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both offices are closed every third Friday. It is imperative to be prepared for any natural disaster. Stay geared up, stay alert, and stay safe!