Military healthcare network cuts thousand of pharmacies

Ken Klein spent 10 years on active military duty, another 10 in the reserves, and followed that with his distinguished stint in civil service.
Active military and veterans are furious that government is forcing them to change healthcare providers.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:21 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Ken Klein spent 10 years on active military duty, another 10 in the reserves, and followed that with his distinguished stint in civil service.

He has dedicated most of his 78 years to the U.S. government, but now wonders if his government is as loyal to him.

Klein is among a growing number of veterans and their dependents who are upset because they will no longer be able to choose where they get prescriptions.

“I want to be able to make my choices,” said Klein this week.

Nearly 15,000, mostly smaller, pharmacies will be eradicated from the military prescription drug network on October 24.

Among them is Doctor’s Center Pharmacy in Dothan that Klein has relied on for 22 years.

“I have personal eye-to-eye contact if I walk into (Doctor’s Center) and I can walk out within 30 minutes with my prescriptions filled,” he said.

Doctor’s Center owner Michael Stringer hears from disgruntled veterans everyday who don’t like being told they must change.

“They’re very unhappy they are forced into something by the country that they served,” Stringer told News 4.

“It’s not right,” said Tina Johnson, a military widow.

She has been a customer of small Dothan pharmacies for decades but is now forced to receive her prescriptions elsewhere.

Walgreens, CVS, and Publix are the ones she must—and Tina doesn’t like to this---turn to now.

But Tricare promises that it will take care of those it covers.

“Despite this change, the Tricare retail network will continue to meet or exceed Tricare’s standard for pharmacy access,” said Defense Health Agency spokesperson Peter Graves said.

Express Scripts administers the drug plan for Tricare.

A spokesperson for U.S. Congressman Barry Moore told News 4 the lawmakers offices have been inundated with complaints and the matter is being examined.

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