What Will Military Health Closures and Realignments Mean for Your Care?

What Will Military Health Closures and Realignments Mean for Your Care?
Prapass Pulsub/Getty Images

With the recent release of the Section 718 report on military treatment facilities (MTFs) to be downsized or closed, MOAA continues its advocacy work to ensure impacted beneficiaries maintain access to quality health care.

 

[SEE THE LIST: Facilities Affected by MTF Realignment]

 

The report provides details on Defense Health Agency (DHA) plans to downsize 31 MTFs and close two military clinics. The changes will impact up to 155,000 beneficiaries, including retirees and active duty family members.

 

Pharmacy capacity at downsized MTFs will remain unchanged – retirees and other TRICARE beneficiaries still will be able to use the MTF pharmacy to fill prescriptions even if they receive medical care from civilian providers.

 

While the report includes details on implementation and communication plans, and “serves as a certification to the congressional defense committees that affected beneficiaries will be able to access health care services through the purchased care component of the TRICARE program”, MOAA remains concerned about potential barriers to accessing care in surrounding communities.

 

The report indicates 20 of the MTFs facing restructuring are in areas of high or very high risk based on TRICARE network capacity and new beneficiaries per network primary care manager (PCM). In the very high risk category, each PCM would have to accept more than 200 new patients to accommodate the MTF realignment. DHA has addressed this with transition periods of up to four years, and has offered assurances in the report that no beneficiary will be transitioned until a provider with availability has been identified.

 

[RELATED: ID Card Update: New Deadline for Some Military Retirees, Dependents]

 

While MOAA appreciates the transition period and the assurances, concerns remain regarding uncertainty across the civilian health care workforce and the difficulty in accurately projecting future provider availability. These factors may put beneficiaries’ access to care at risk.  

 

MOAA already has reached out to staffers on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees with these concerns. We will also be contacting member offices in impacted districts to get their reactions to MTF restructuring plans. They will likely be concerned not only for military families but also non-military constituents who will be affected when thousands of TRICARE beneficiaries are released into the civilian health care systems in their communities.

 

Do you receive care at an MTF slated for restructuring? Please share your perspectives on TRICARE network care availability or unique considerations about your community with us at legis@moaa.org.

 

Affected Facilities

These outpatient clinics, listed by historic service alignment, will transition to active duty only; some may continue to enroll active duty family members as appropriate for provider skill sustainment. All will maintain current pharmacy capacity.

 

Army

  • Army Health Clinic (AHC) Kirk – Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
  • AHC Fox – Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
  • AHC Barquist – Fort Detrick, Md.
  • AHC Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.
  • AHC SOUTHCOM – Fort Gordon, Fla.
  • AHC Kenner – Fort Lee, Va.
  • AHC Fillmore – New Cumberland, Pa.

 

Air Force

  • 87th Medical Group (MEDGRP) – Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
  • 42nd MEDGRP – Maxwell AFB, Ala.
  • 45th MEDGRP – Patrick AFB, Fla.
  • 78th MEDGRP – Robins AFB, Ga.
  • 66th MEDGRP – Hanscom AFB, Mass.
  • 6th MEDGRP – MacDill AFB, Fla.
  • 17th MEDGRP – Goodfellow AFB, Texas
  • 436th MEDGRP – Dover AFB, Del.
  • 7th MEDGRP – Dyess AFB, Texas
  • 2nd MEDGRP – Barksdale AFB, La.

 

Navy

  • Naval Health Clinic (NHC) Patuxent River, Md.
  • Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) Groton, Conn. (will continue to enroll active duty family members)
  • NBHC Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South, Tenn.
  • NHC Corpus Christi, Texas
  • NBHC Portsmouth, N.H.
  • NBHC Naval Air Station Belle Chasse, La.
  • NBHC Dahlgren, Va.
  • NBHC Indian Head, Md.
  • NHC New England, R.I.
  • NBHC Meridian, Miss.
  • NBHC Albany, Ga.
  • Earle Branch Health Clinic (BHC) – Colts Neck, N.J.

 

These inpatient hospitals will transition to Ambulatory Surgery Centers/Outpatient Clinics. Current pharmacy capacity will be maintained.

  • 633rd MEDGRP – Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va: Inpatient care likely to transition to three local TRICARE network hospitals (Sentara CarePlex, Riverside, and Bon Secours Mary Immaculate, per DHA Use Case.)
  • Naval Hospital Beaufort (serves Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.): Beaufort Memorial can likely absorb inpatient care from NH Beaufort, but there are also several additional hospitals within a one-hour drive, per DHA Use Case.)

 

These outpatient clinics will close:

  • Community Based Medical Home North Columbus – Fort Benning, Ga.
  • Sabal Park Clinic – MacDill AFB, Fla.

 

More Members Mean More Influence Over Our  Health Care

Get involved and make sure your interests are addressed. Because the larger our voice is, the greater our impact will be.

Join Or Upgrade Now

About the Author

Karen Ruedisueli
Karen Ruedisueli

Ruedisueli is MOAA’s Director of Government Relations for Health Affairs and also serves as co-chair of The Military Coalition’s (TMC) Health Care Committee. She spent six years with the National Military Family Association, advocating for families of the uniformed services with a focus on health care and military caregivers.