Costa: Keep Atwater Tricare Service Center Open for Valley Vets

January 29, 2013

Washington, DC – Rep. Jim Costa called for the Department of Defense to reconsider their decision to close the Atwater Tricare Service Center (TSC). As a condition of the service contract transition from TriWest Healthcare Alliance to UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans, the Department of Defense has decided to end operations at the Atwater TSC by mid-February. In a letter, Costa urged the Department to reconsider their decision that would force veterans in Costa’s district to drive up to 90 miles to Lemoore, California or 150 miles to Beale Air Force for in-person assistance.

Text of the letter below:


Brigadier General W. Bryan Gamble

Deputy Director

TRICARE Management Activity

7700 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 5101

Falls Church, VA 22042


Dear Brig. Gen. Gamble:

Thank you for your service to our nation and to the men and women of our United States military. These brave individuals have endured great sacrifice to keep our county safe, and it is our duty to ensure we keep our promise to care for our veterans when they return from the battlefield.

It is my understanding that as part of the service contract transition from TriWest Healthcare Alliance to UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans, the Tricare Service Center in Atwater, California, (Atwater TSC) is slated for closure in mid-February. The closure of this important facility is unacceptable, and I urge you to keep the doors open for veterans in California’s 16th Congressional District.

For years, the Atwater TSC has provided a necessary service for military retirees in the region. According to TriWest, the Atwater TSC was utilized by more than 300 walk-in visitors over the past six months, in addition to assistance provided over the telephone. Many veterans in Merced County and the surrounding area have come to trust and depend on the friendly faces at the Atwater TSC to help them through the complicated enrollment, claims, and referral processes. The facility is also heavily used by the Medical Group at the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, California. Closure of this facility will force these men and women to drive 90 miles to Lemoore, California, or 150 miles to Beale Air Force Base to receive the same in-person service. There must be a better way.

In order to keep the promise we have made to our veterans, I urge you to reconsider your decision to close the Tricare Service Center in Atwater. I look forward to your prompt response.





Member of Congress