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Military

U.S. Department of Defense

March 5, 2020
News
By Terri Moon Cronk
Defense.gov

Military Medical Budget Prioritizes Readiness, Reform

The military medical budget for fiscal year 2021 prioritizes the medical readiness of the military force in addition to their readiness of the medical force, while sustaining beneficiaries' access to quality healthcare, the assistant secretary for defense for health affairs told Congress today.

Thomas McCaffrey, speaking to the House Appropriations Committee, outlined the proposed budget request of $33.1 billion for the defense health program.

"This proposed budget reflects our continued implementation of a number of comprehensive reforms to our health system as directed by Congress and [Defense Department] leadership," McCaffrey said. 

The assistant secretary also outlined additional significant reforms:

  • Consolidating administration and management of DOD's military hospitals and clinics under the Defense Health Agency;
  • Right-sizing the military medical infrastructure to focus on readiness; and
  • Optimizing the size and composition of the military medical force to best meet its readiness mission. 

To implement the reforms, DOD is guided by two principles, he said. 

"First, our military medical hospitals and clinics are, first and foremost, military facilities as operations need to be focused on meeting military requirements," McCaffrey said. "That means that our MTFs serve as the primary platform in which we ensure that service members are medically ready to train and deploy. It also means that our MTFs are effectively utilized as training platforms that enable our military medical personnel to acquire and maintain the clinical skills that enable them to deploy in support of combat operations."

Second, as a reform to the Military Health System, "we continue to make good on our commitment to provide our beneficiaries access to quality health care," he noted.

While the military medical community implements changes to the health system, it also continues to pursue its other initiatives that have contributed to the achievement of the highest battlefield survival rates in history, while providing world-class health care to its millions of beneficiaries, McCaffrey said.

"That includes our continued deployment of the electronic health record and our ongoing operation of our cutting-edge research and development programs," the assistant secretary said, "which Congress and this committee have long championed. The work in that area is playing a significant role in the whole government effort on the [Coronavirus] issue."



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