Armed Forces News

Killeen, TX: Darnall Army Medical Center. Cited in the Texas Hill Country, the facility provides comprehensive health care to more than 145,000 beneficiaries that include active duty military, their family members and retirees who live within 40 miles of the center.

The Military Health System unveiled plans to “right size” 50 military treatment facilities (MTFs), primarily by focusing the provision of service solely to active-duty beneficiaries. As the changes take place in the coming years, previously eligible retirees and many other beneficiaries would have to seek treatment through commercial providers, under their TRICARE coverage.

The changes were necessitated by provisions of the 2017 defense spending bill, which mandated that the military medical system gear its efforts toward efforts that support readiness.

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Further driving the issue, the Military Health System anticipates an increase in demand for care from non-uniformed beneficiaries.

Understanding that many communities that serve military civilian dependents and retirees would have to adjust to the changes, the plan calls for a gradual and “carefully managed” implementation.

In some areas, a full transition may take several years to complete.

The transition would entail steps to ensure patients have access to the care they need, MTFs are modernized, and staffs are trained to accommodate the changes.

The decisions in this report were based on an initial screening of 343 MTFs identified as providing healthcare services in the United States. The report contains analysis that is independent of other initiatives that will have an impact on manpower. From the 343 MTFs initially assessed, 77 were identified for further assessment. The assessment was completed using agreed upon methods by Department senior leadership including:

-Use of comprehensive data on MTF performance.
-Government and independent commercial assessments of local market capabilities and capacities.
-Data call identifying MTF readiness and mission requirements.
-Input from Service and local medical facility leadership and staff.
-On-site assessments when required.

The assessment identified: 50 MTFs for right-sizing, 21 with no change, and six deferred for further review. 

*More details, plus a list of affected facilities, is available here.

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