Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England announced today the names of the 14-member future military healthcare task force; the task force will evaluate and recommend alternatives to ensure the availability and affordability of military medicine over the long term.
As directed by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2007, the task force will include seven members from within the department and seven experts from a variety of disciplines external to the department. Task force members are identified below.
“The military health program has many important challenges, the most critical being the rapidly growing costs of health benefit coverage,” said England, “and the need to make adjustments so this great program can continue far into the future. We in the department and in the Congress look forward to the task force’s recommendations.”
The task force has a slate of objectives that includes assessment and recommendations on wellness initiatives, education programs, accurate cost accounting, universal enrollment, system command and control, procurement adequacy, military and civilian personnel mix, Medicare-eligible beneficiary needs, efficient and cost effective contracts, and the beneficiary-government cost share structure to sustain military health benefits over the long term. This cost sharing structure has significant priority in that the task force must report on this element in both the interim and the final reports.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr. stated, “Military medicine is unmatched anywhere in the world. Our troops know they have the best care should they need it, and they know their families at home have the same great care. As the leaders of this department, we have the responsibility to ensure this excellent healthcare continues for future generations of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen and their families.”
Task force membership resulted from considered coordination with the secretaries of the military services and interagency leaders. The defense secretary will receive the interim report of the task force in May 2007, and the final report in December 2007. Following review by the secretary, the report will go to the armed services committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“The task force represents a broad group of individuals with outstanding expertise and knowledge of healthcare generally and also of military healthcare,” saidWilliam Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “The group is bipartisan and includes recognized experts in quality, health benefit design, costs and actuarial projections, women’s health, organization and delivery of healthcare, and national health policy. This is an impressive group of thoughtful and experienced people who care about military healthcare. We look forward to supporting their efforts, and I welcome their recommendations.”
Task Force Members
Department of Defense Members:
Air Force Gen. John D. W. Corley, vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Nancy Adams, former commander Tripler Army Medical Center and acting director, TRICARE Regional Office, North
Navy Rear Adm. John Mateczun, Deputy Surgeon General
Air Force Lt. Gen. James Roudebush, Surgeon General
Air Force Maj. Gen. Joseph Kelley, deputy director of logistics for medical readiness, the Joint Staff
Shay Assad, director of defense procurement and acquisition policy, Office of the Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Non Departmental Members:
Robert J. Henke, assistant secretary for management, Department of Veterans Affairs
Dr. Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Department of Health and Human Services
Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D., elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and its governing council
Robert F. Hale, senior fellow at the Logistics Management Institute and member of the Defense Business Board; formerly assistant secretary of the Air Force for financial management and comptroller
Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Robert Smith, past president and current member of the Board of the Reserve Officers Association, and global controller, Vehicle Service & Programs, Ford Motor Co.
Larry Lewin, founder of The Lewin Group and currently executive consultant on clinical and technology effectiveness, health promotion.
Dr. Robert Galvin, director of global healthcare for General Electric.