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Official: Military Input Keeps Medical Care Top-Notch

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2014 — The future of military medicine is evolving largely from the input of service members and their families, Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Douglas J. Robb, director, Defense Health Agency, said at the annual Warrior-Family Symposium here today.

An organization under the Military Health System umbrella, the agency is the military’s platform to deliver health care, Robb told the symposium audience. The event was cosponsored by the Military Officers Association of America and the National Defense Industrial Association.

“Keep knocking on my door ... we’re listening,” the general told audience members.

But keeping up-to-date with medicine in a tight fiscal atmosphere can be a matter of adapt or perish, Robb said.

With the military downsizing from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, DHA was stood up to reform the military medical systems into one “efficient, effective but viable and higher-quality health care system in today’s environment,” he said.

DHA brings together standardized medicine and shared medical resources from the services, and shifts resources to increase the military’s readiness posture, Robb added.

By integrating the Army’s, Navy’s and Air Force’s medical departments and services, Robb said, the military is getting the best value for its health care system and a great readiness support network.

The recommendations from a recent Military Health Care System review are now in the hands of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Robb said. The results should come out in the next couple of weeks.

“What we’ll see is a good, honest hard look,” from internal and independent reviewers, he said.

“We have some areas for improvement, but we have some areas where we’re out-performing the civilian sector,” he said, adding that a highly reliable organization must continually focus on where it needs improvement.

“You need to keep pushing us and keep demanding [quality health care],” Robb told the audience.