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Lyster explains why primary care managers may change

Published: June 13, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 13, 2014) -- If you have ever gotten a letter from your military treatment facility stating that your primary care manager has changed, you may have felt frustrated and upset about seeing a new doctor.

However, PCM changes at Lyster Army Health Clinic are only made after a thorough review of patients’ medical history determines the best doctor for their medical concerns.

Flight status students, and those who are removed from flight status, make up the largest group of PCM changes at LAHC, said Maj. Derik Swee, chief of primary care at LAHC.
“The clinic’s flight team only sees patients who are on flight status and reassigns those who no longer fall into that category,” said Swee.

Patient requests make up the second-largest group of PCM changes.

“Often, patients want to have one PCM for their entire Family and will request a change to put everyone on the same medical home team,” Swee said. “Other reasons patients ask for a PCM change is because they relocate back to Fort Rucker and want to see the same PCM as the last time they were here.”

Based on past, present and future medical concerns, patients are assigned a PCM who has the knowledge base and track record to successfully care for their medical issue, he said, and patients may be switched to a different PCM if their medical concern worsens or improves.

“We assign a patient to the correct skill level provider based on their medical needs and sometimes switch their PCM later down the road as a result of acuity level changes,” he said.

Patients are also assigned based on their demographics. The clinic’s pediatricians currently work on Team Honor and, therefore, those patients needing to see a pediatrician would be reassigned as needed, Swee said.

The final and least common reason for a PCM change is over-empanelment, which happens when a provider has too many patients on their panel and would be unable to provide premium care to each patient.

“The most important aspect of PCM changes is to make sure the patient is happy and receiving the best care possible from their new provider,” Swee said.

This article was originally published at

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