Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has instated a deadline for underperforming units of the U.S. military healthcare system to develop service and facility improvement plans that aim to address identified performance gaps, Reuters reported Wednesday.
David Alexander writes that Hagel gave a 30-day timeline for plans to shorten patient wait times for health services as well as a 45-day timeline for plans to improve the quality of health facilities following the release of a Defense Department review he ordered in May.
“The bottom-line finding is that the military healthcare system … is comparable in access, quality and safety to average private-sector healthcare. But we cannot accept average … we can do better,” Hagel said, according to the report.
The review led by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work focused on the areas of access to care, quality of care and safety and found that despite the gaps, the examined medical facilities did not consistently underperform on all three areas, the report said.
Alexander reports that it also highlighted a performance variability compared to national benchmarks and civilian health services, as well as the lack of performance metrics across the military healthcare system.