Need cryotherapy or crutches? Check out these services while shopping at your military exchange
MilitaryTimes By: Karen Jowers
More dental clinics, durable medical equipment shops and cryotherapy centers are coming to some installations, as part of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service emphasis on wellness services.
The durable medical equipment shops carry items to help with rehab, fitness and mobility, such as crutches, fitness bands, medical footwear, therapy aids, wheelchairs, canes and walkers. These shops— as well as the other wellness locations — accept Tricare and most other insurance plans, when applicable. The shops also fill prescriptions, said AAFES spokeswoman Marisa Conner.
Cryotherapy, which is the use of extreme cold in medical treatments. AAFES has cryotherapy offices at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas, and expects to open two more in 2020 at Fort Bragg and Fort Benning.
There are also optical and optometry clinics in 151 AAFES locations worldwide.
Currently, there are durable medical equipment shops in 18 AAFES locations, with five more scheduled to open in 2020. The shops are relatively new to AAFES shopping centers, but have been popular with shoppers of all ages, officials said. Their assortment also includes needed items that sometimes aren’t covered by health insurance plans.
The shops, which offer discounts to military-connected customers, are also open to the newly eligible customers such as all service-connected disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and primary family caregivers of eligible veterans under the VA caregiver program.
These shops might be helpful for certain service-connected disabled veterans who wouldn’t be eligible for free equipment from the VA — such as those with 0- to 40 percent service-connected disability ratings, said Jeremy Villanueva, assistant national legislative director of Disabled American Veterans.
Those with less than 50 percent disability ratings don’t get these medically-prescribed items free of charge from the VA if the items are related to a condition that isn’t service-connected. For example, if a veteran has a 30 percent service-connected disability rating for their post traumatic stress disorder, and happens to have bad knees, that veteran would pay for equipment for the knees, because the bad knees are not a service-connected condition.
AAFES plans to open durable medical equipment shops this year at Tripler Army Medical Center and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo; Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; and Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
Current AAFES durable medical equipment shops:
- Arizona: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Luke Air Force Base
- California: March Air Reserve Base, McClellan Air Force Base
- Colorado: Buckley Air Force Base, Fort Carson
- Georgia: Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Air Field
- Germany: Ramstein Air Base
- Kentucky: Fort Campbell
- Nebraska: Offutt Air Force Base
- Nevada: Nellis Air Force Base
- New Mexico: Holloman Air Force Base
- North Carolina: Fort Bragg
- Virginia: Fort Belvoir
- Texas: Fort Bliss, Fort Hood
- Washington: Joint Base Lewis-McChord
AAFES has dental offices at Fort Stewart, Ga., and Fort Hood, Texas. Mobile dental offices are operating at Fort Bragg, N.C., and at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Those mobile offices are scheduled to move to permanent locations in 2020.
Additional dental offices opening in 2020:
- Arizona: Luke Air Force Base
- Georgia: Fort Benning, Fort Gordon
- Kentucky: Fort Campbell
- Oklahoma: Fort Sill
- South Korea: Camp Humphreys
- Texas: Fort Bliss, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston
Cryotherapy, sometimes known as cold therapy, is the use of low temperatures in medical therapy.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of FRA.