The Department of Defense’s program to transfer management of its medical treatment facilities from individual military departments to the Defense Health Agency is helping to improve military patient access to care.
By Fred Donovan on July 08, 2019
The Department of Defense’s program to transfer management of its medical treatment facilities (MTFs) from individual military departments to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) is helping to improve military patient access to care.
Under the transfer program, which was mandated by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, DHA will be responsible for all MTFs with respect to budget, information technology, healthcare administration and management, administrative policy and procedures, and military medical construction.
The DoD’s MTFs include 51 hospitals, 381 ambulatory care and occupational health clinics, and 247 dental clinics.
As an example of the benefits of the transfer, Womack Army Medical Center has been helping out Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, which was understaffed in its radiology department, the Fayetteville Observer reported recently.
“We had some staff challenges that usually would take at least six months to resolve,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Perez, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the radiology clinic.
Womack sent a radiology technician, Spc. Zachary Bevington, to help with the understaffing situation at Seymour.
“I have been performing diagnostic radiology because doctors constantly come in wanting to see what’s going on inside of their patients,” Bevington said. “I’m very happy to be able to come here and help. I love being a part of the patient healing process.”
Womack and other MTFs in the Carolinas are in the processes of transitioning administrative policies and processes to DHA.
“It’s great to have more people across the services that work in the same specialty care,” Perez said. “It’s very appropriate to have a standard across the board regarding military medicine.”
Womack Army Medical Center, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Pope Army Airfield, and other MTFs in the region have been assigned to the Coastal Carolina Market. They are included in the first phase of the transfer.
Other MTFs in phase 1 of the transition include Fort Bragg, NC; Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL; Keesler Air Force Base, MS; Joint Base Charleston, SC; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, MD; Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital, VA; and associated clinics.
Phase 2 of the transition is scheduled to be completed this October. Phase 3 will include remaining U.S. MTFs and will be completed in October 2020, while phase 4 will include overseas MTFs and will be completed in October 2021.