Army Hospitals To Be Transferred to Defense Agency

Army Hospitals To Be Transferred to Defense Agency

Photo by: U.S. Army

Starting in October, the Defense Health Agency will begin assuming responsibility for health care delivery by military hospitals and clinics.

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West said this is part of a management change that will make DoD—not the services—responsible for business operations across the military health care system, including health care administration and management, administrative policies and procedures, and military medical construction.

Changes will happen in phases, she said, with Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, N.C., among the first medical facilities to be transferred from Army control to the Defense Health Agency. The other services also will begin transferring responsibility for their hospitals.

Complete transformation of the military medical treatment system is expected to take four years, according to a Defense Health Service report to Congress.

Speaking in San Antonio at the Army Medical Symposium and Exposition hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare, West said transfer of hospitals and clinics is part of a larger reform intended “to reduce redundancy and deliver efficiencies.” Many details remain to be worked out, she said. “There are times when it’s going to take the leadership of the team here to ensure that all of those within our formations are kept informed,” West said.

The transfer of authority doesn’t change the commitment to service members and their families, she said. “Our mission starts and ends with soldiers. I think you will agree with me when I say that the future of Army medicine is really bright.”

Transfer of patient care responsibility and management to the defense agency is the result of provisions in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which seeks to eliminate duplication of effort and improve and standardize treatment and patient experiences.