MOAA continued its work on the Hill to stop cuts to military medical capacity with an April 3 letter to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leadership. The letter urges a provision in the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to stop medical billet reductions and end the downsizing of military treatment facilities (MTFs).
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MOAA appreciates Defense Health Agency assurances that all changes to MTF capacity will be conditions-based, and we understand MHS reform activities have been delayed so staff can focus on the COVID-19 response. However, simply pausing cuts to military hospitals and clinics is not enough.
“This crisis will yield many lessons learned for the entire medical system and, potentially, a new vision for DoD’s role in any future nationwide medical emergency,” MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), wrote in the letter, which can be read in full here. “When this crisis has passed, DoD should not just move ahead with reform designed around pre-COVID evaluations of the MHS.”
The proposed FY 2021 DoD budget continues plans to cut approximately 18,000 medical personnel, or nearly 20% of uniformed medical billets. MHS reform also includes restructuring the direct care system of military hospitals and clinics, including the potential closure or downsizing of 48 MTFs.
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“This unprecedented situation demands an updated analysis of medical readiness requirements and optimal direct care system structure incorporating lessons learned from the COVID-19 response,” Atkins wrote in the letter.
You can support MOAA’s efforts by sending your own letter to your lawmakers. MOAA also is asking legislators to waive TRICARE mail order pharmacy copays during the pandemic; click here for more information, and click here to send a letter.
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