Report Finds ‘Average Care’ by MHS; DoD Officials Not Satisfied

By Sandra Basu

WASHINGTON – A highly anticipated review of the MHS has found that its care is comparable to average private sector healthcare, but that there is “wide performance variability with some areas better than civilian counterparts and other areas below national benchmarks.”

Military officials said they were not satisfied with average care.

“We cannot accept average when it comes to caring for our men and women in uniform and their families,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said of the results.

The review of the MHS was ordered by Hagel at the end of May against the backdrop of an investigation into the VA healthcare system over manipulation of reporting long wait-times for veterans seeking appointments.

“Even small lapses in care can lead to devastating and heartbreaking losses or injuries. We must hold the entire military health system to the same exacting standards that we demand of our combat missions,” Hagel said of the review’s results.

As a result of the findings, Hagel emphasized that DoD would be taking steps to “ensure that the entire military healthcare system is not merely an average system, but a leading system.” Those steps include:

  • All healthcare facilities identified as outliers in the categories of access, quality and safety must provide action plans for improvement within 45 days.
  • MHS leadership and the surgeons general must ensure unified standards for purchased, as well as direct care and establish a mechanism for patients and concerned stakeholders to provide ongoing input.
  • DoD’s healthcare leadership will establish a system-wide performance management system to scrutinize lapses and monitor progress.
  • To enhance transparency, all currently available data on DoD’s healthcare system will be made publicly available.
  • By the end of the year, DoD will have a detailed implementation plan to ensure the military healthcare system becomes a top performing system.pph

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