Pentagon Surgeons General Express Concerns over Proposed Tricare Choice Program

medical health doctorSome senior health leaders at the Defense Department have voiced their concerns over the potential impact of a new proposed healthcare plan for soldiers on military readiness and medical skills, DoD News reported Friday.

Terri Moon Cronk writes that under the Tricare choice program, active duty family members and retirees would have the option to adopt commercial health plans.

“To put [military treatment facilities] in competition with the private sector would drive up administrative costs and significantly detract from the operational mission of our medical facilities,” Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, deputy surgeon general for the U.S. Navy, said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subpanel.

Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, U.S. Army surgeon general, said non-active duty members account for more than 80 percent of the Military Health System’s inpatient care.

“These patients are vital to sustain our graduate medical and health professionals’ education programs,” she told members of the panel.

“The loss of these inpatients from our direct health-care system would pose tremendous risk to our training and negatively impact our medical forces readiness posture.”

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said the Military Health System has made changes to governance and agrees with the recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.

“We’ve undertaken a comprehensive review of our medical infrastructure and resources and [we’ve] presented a modernization plan that proposes to place our most-skilled professionals in the military communities where they are likely to keep those skills sharpest,” he told the panel.

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