The medical care system for service members, retirees, civilians and their families in Germany consists of three main elements. The local military community health services found on base, more extensive services offered at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Landstuhl, Germany, and off-base specialty care providers.
Stuttgart on-base health care
The Stuttgart military community is served by the U.S. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart on Patch Barracks, the Kelly Barracks clinic annex and the dental clinic located on Panzer Kaserne. These clinics provide health care using the patient-centered medical home model which is a team-based health care delivery model, led by a physician or physician’s assistant that provides comprehensive and continuous medical care to patients. The services offered at the health clinic include: primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health, optometry, physical therapy and a wellness center. Kelley Clinic Annex offers primary care for adults and limited Tricare services.
Care is provided based on Tricare Prime enrollment for active duty and active duty family members. Tricare Standard beneficiaries, civilians and contractors may be seen on a space-available basis through third party reimbursement. For primary care appointments, all space-available patients can call after noon Monday to Thursday to be scheduled into any open appointments for that afternoon. Other services like optometry, behavioral health, physical therapy or the wellness center may see space available patients depending on current staffing levels. Space available patients are encouraged to establish a relationship with an off-base primary care provider.
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is about a two and a half hours drive from the Stuttgart area. LRMC offers a wide variety of specialty clinics and is a U.S. Level 1 trauma center verified by the American College of Surgeons. Major surgeries, specialty services and most other services not available at the Stuttgart clinics are available at LRMC. Visiting the specialty clinics at Landstuhl usually starts with a referral from Stuttgart’s primary care providers.
Host nation medical care
For some services, primary care providers may refer patients to host nation facilities, and the Stuttgart Health Clinic maintains relationships with an extensive network of English speaking providers for specialty care on the German economy.
Tricare Prime beneficiaries should contact International S.O.S. for all off-post referral and billing issues. ISOS can be reached by telephone at civ. 0800-5891599 (toll-free from Germany) or Europe-wide at 0044-20-8762-8384 (international rates apply).
Those who are referred off-base should be aware that host nation medical clinics and hospitals have much in common with those in the United States, however, some health care in Germany can be quite different than the U.S. and may take some adjustments.
Language: Though many host nation doctors may speak English, their staff may not. If you do not speak German, take a bilingual dictionary with you. Although your medical terminology translation booklets are usually available from the U.S. referring clinic, a stay in the hospital can be an excellent opportunity to learn a few words of German.
Asking questions of physicians: During rounds, junior physicians often accompany attending physicians. This can make it difficult for patients to feel comfortable asking questions. Write down your questions. During rounds, it is appropriate to ask if the doctor has time to address all questions. If not, ask when the doctor can return. Host nation Patient Liaisons should be able to assist. Some German physicians may not be in the habit of explaining details to patients. They will answer all questions when asked, but sometimes do not volunteer all results or information. Be sure to ask doctors and nurses about the treatment plan.
Privacy: German privacy standards may differ from what many Americans are used to, so please keep in mind that we are in their country. Host nation physicians may not always use a chaperone when examining patients of the opposite sex. Ask for a chaperone if you feel uncomfortable. Generally, there are no privacy screens between beds. Do not wear transparent clothing. Take appropriate clothing that allows you to remain semi-dressed during an upper body exam. Patients may be asked to undress while nursing staff is passing through the area. This is considered proper. Please be respectful of their standards.
The Stuttgart health clinic uses the online Relay Health System, in addition to online services offered by Tricare, to maximize the health care services provided. Relay Health is an online messaging service that allows patients to contact their primary care provider and ask those questions, or receive advice that may not require an in-person appointment. This system is a secured messaging system and is a great way to get lab results, prescription refills or ask non-urgent medical questions.
Tricare Online offers a way for eligible patients to schedule and cancel appointments at any time. Patients can even look at their lab results online. For more information go to the Tricare website at www.tricareonline.com
Upon arrival in Stuttgart
Active duty and their family members: After you have enrolled in Tricare Prime, you should schedule a welcome appointment with your primary care manager to establish a relationship with your provider and ensure all preventative services are up to date. Active duty military need to in-process through Medical Readiness to ensure all immunizations, periodic health examinations, etc. are up to date.
Military retirees, civilians and contractors eligible for care: If you plan to use the health clinic, you need to register through the Patient Administration Division office before using any of the clinic’s services.
In an emergency, do not contact the Stuttgart clinic, or go to the Stuttgart clinic, which does not provide emergency medical services. Emergency medical services are provided by the nearest appropriate host nation medical facility, and the telephone number to call in Germany from a civilian phone line is 112. From on base DSN phones, dial 116 for the Military Police desk. They can then contact additional emergency services as needed.
For more information check out the clinic on Facebook: www.facebook.com/StuttgartHealthClinic or visit the clinic’s website: https://ermc.amedd.army.mil/stuttgart/ or call DSN 590-2900 or civ. 06371-9464-2900.
Emergency Numbers in Germany:
112 from civilian phones, for ambulance and fire
110 from civilian phones for police
From DSN phones dial
116 for the MP desk and they can contact all emergency services