USFHP Fall 2020 US Family Newsletter

In this issue

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How to Make a Mask

Seasonal Flu Key Facts

What is Telemedicine?

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the newest issue of Be Well Informed. All of us here at CHRISTUS US Family Health Plan hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well as we continue finding our new normal.

In this issue, we describe how to make a No-Sew Cloth Mask and the Great American Smokeout in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November.

Two important reminders: Flu season is coming, so please be sure to get your flu vaccine. Open Season also begins Nov. 9 through Dec. 14. As always, if you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact Member Services at 800.67.USFHP.

In good health,

CHRISTUS Health US Family Health Plan

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Our Outreach Coordinator is sending out health reminder letters and doing outreach calls, to help you complete important wellness visits, blood sugar tests, and breast imaging exams. These medical tests and exams are valuable in preventing harm through early detection. We look forward to teaming up with you in reaching a better level of health. For more information about our Outreach Coordinator, call Member Services at 800.678.7347.

How to Make a Mask

CDC recommends that you wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.
Cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N95 respirators. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for health care workers and other first responders.
Who should NOT use cloth face coverings: children under age 2, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Simple cloth face coverings can be made at home and may help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
No-Sew Face Covering
  • Bandana, old t-shirt, or square cotton cloth (approximately 20”x20”)
  •  Rubber bands (or hair ties)
  • Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)


1. Fold bandana in half.

2. Fold top down. Fold bottom up.

3. Place rubber bands or hair ties about six inches apart around the bandana.

4. Fold sides of the bandana to the middle and tuck the sides into each other.

Make sure your cloth face covering:

  • fits snugly against the sides of your face• completely covers the nose AND mouth
  • is secured with ties or ear loops• includes multiple layers of fabric
  • allows for breathing without restriction
  • can be laundered and machine dired without damage or change to shape

For more information about No-Sew Face Masks and Sewn Face Coverings, as well as diagrams for each, visit

Seasonal Key Flu Facts

Why should people get vaccinated against flu?

Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu.

Who should get vaccinated?

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has made this recommendation since the 2010-11 influenza season.Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of developing serious flu complications. For example, flu vaccination has been shown in separate studies to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.

When should I get vaccinated?

You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season.

Does the flu shot increase your risk of getting COVID-19?

There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination and preventing flu is always important, but in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to do everything possible to reduce illnesses and preserve scarce health care resources.


What is Telemedicine?

TRICARE and USFHP cover certain telemedicine services. You may be able to see a TRICARE-authorized provider without leaving your home. Using a computer or smartphone, you connect with your provider by secure video conferencing. TRICARE and USFHP also cover audio-only telemedicine services.

“In light of COVID-19, we want to cut down on patient and staff contact,” said Dr. John Kugler, director of the Clinical Support Division at the Defense Health Agency (DHA). “Telemedicine may be an option to meet with your provider.

”As part of CHRISTUS Health Plan’s commitment to continue delivering high quality care, our partners at CHRISTUS Physician Group clinics have expanded their telehealth services to include telemedicine visits for primary and specialty care. Telehealth services are available for new and existing patients, and use safe, secure and HIPAA-compliant technology.

All of us at CHRISTUS are here to answer any questions and help you get started with Telemedicine. Call today 844.CPG.DOCS (844.274.3627). You can also visit us online at

Members in the greater Houston area who do not visit CHRISTUS clinics should contact their provider’s office about their telemedicine offerings.


As a TRICARE Prime option, CHRISTUS Health US Family Health Plan participates in TRICARE® Open Season.

TRICARE Open Season is the annual period when you can enroll in or change your health plan for the next year. The 2020 TRICARE Open Season begins Monday, Nov. 9 and ends Monday, Dec. 14.

During Open Season, you can:

  • Do nothing. If you want to stay in your current TRICARE health plan, you don’t have to take any action. You’ll continue in your current health plan through 2021 or as long as you’re eligible.
  • Enroll in a plan. If you’re eligible for a TRICARE Prime option or TRICARE Select but not enrolled, you can enroll in a plan at this time.
  • Change plans. If you’re already enrolled in a TRICARE Prime option, or TRICARE Select, you can switch plans and switch between individual and family enrollment.

Being able to use TRICARE (and USFHP) depends on keeping DEERS up to date. TRICARE eligibility shows up in DEERS based on the sponsor’s status. Keeping your DEERS record up to date is key to receiving timely and effective benefits.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call your Community Outreach Coordinator or Member Services. Member Services can be reached Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 800.67.USFHP (800.678.7347).

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