Plan for unified medical care rejected

By Tom Philpott: MIlitary Update Air Force opposition has scuttled Army and Navy plans to merge the three services’ large medical bureaucracies, led now by three surgeons general, into a single Unified Medical Command. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England decided this month not to endorse such a major streamlining of the military health care system […]

Sharing medical data imperative for care

By Tom Philpott: Military Update William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, took time during a teleconference with journalists last week to tout his department’s ability to transfer electronically the medical records of separating service members to the Department of Veterans Affairs. In doing so, Winkenwerder ignored a rising chorus of critics […]

Unsponsored families don’t get TRICARE

By Tom Philpott: Military Update In decades past, the U.S. military discouraged family members from joining loved ones on “unaccompanied” year-long tours to places like South Korea, Okinawa, Guam and more remote tours in “Cold War” Europe. “Non-command sponsored” dependents who traveled to these assignments often were seen as a distraction and strain on support […]

Officials planning health-care changes

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Senior defense officials characterized the military health benefit as “extremely rich” during a Wednesday meeting with service association representatives over plans to raise retirees’ TRICARE fees. Officials requested the meeting, say attendees, to explain to The Military Coalition, an umbrella group of three dozen military and veterans groups, why the […]

Military health spending to be slowed

Tom Philpott: Military Update Congress will worsen a near crisis of runaway military health care costs if it enacts a Senate-backed provision to open the new TRICARE Reserve Select program to all drilling Reserve and National Guard members, the Defense Department’s top health official has warned. In testimony before a House subcommittee, Dr. William Winkenwerder […]

Military health care costs still rising

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Defense Department officials say it’s time users of military health care pay a greater share of rising medical costs, perhaps through higher co-payments and enrollment fees that haven’t been raised since TRICARE, the military’s managed care program, began a decade ago. In an interview, Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr., assistant secretary […]

TRICARE may become available to reservists

Tom Philpott o Critics say move too costly, won’t solve problems. Dr. William Winkenwerder, the Defense Department’s top health official, has a task force working to implement healthcare gains for reserve and National Guard forces that Congress approved this month. That includes opening TRICARE, on a cost-share basis, to non-mobilized reservists who are unemployed or […]