836,000 More Health Care Appointments in 2016
March 30, 2017
The Army dramatically increased access to health care for soldiers and their families in the past year, Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja West says.
“Over the last year, we've launched aggressive efforts to expand access to improve quality for all who rely on us,” West told the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Last year, when I testified before this committee, I promised that I would create 379,000 additional primary- and specialty-care appointments. I'm very proud to share with you that we've exceeded that goal by more than 200 percent, adding 836,000 additional appointments in 2016.
“Predictable and consistent funding is essential to ensure we maintain our readiness to support and answer our nation's call,” West said. “It is important to emphasize that Army Medicine is comprised of a mix of integrated health services, research and training and education unlike any other health care organization in the world. From our garrisons to the farthest sites around the globe, Army Medicine provides quality health care when needed.”
West testified at the hearing alongside her counterparts from the other services at a time when Army Medicine is about to undergo a significant organizational change resulting from a congressional mandate to expand the authority of the Defense Health Agency to oversee military medicine. West said the Army is being careful because of the possibility of “far-reaching second- and third-order effects.”
The Army medical community includes 138,000 soldiers and civilians. Most uniformed medical staff are in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.