Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has sent a report to Congress on Nov. 8, 1999 that recommends sweeping changes in the statutes and policies covering health care benefits and entitlements for members of the National Guard and Reserve.
The study contains 14 recommendations to ensure that medical treatment, entitlements and force health protection measures for Reserve component personnel are sufficient at a time in history when reservists are increasingly being called upon, and when they are increasingly going in harm's way. Some of these recommendations have already been adopted by the Congress and included in the Fiscal Year 2000 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
"The findings of this report are compelling and important because the changed nature of today's Total Force requires a new approach to providing medical care to our reservists," Cohen said. "At the core of this new approach is the notion that performance of duty, not length of duty, establishes risk and exposure to harm. In other words, we will treat injury or illness, sustained in the line of duty, regardless of the duty status in which the individual is serving."
The study, formally titled, "Means of Improving the Provision of Uniform and Consistent Medical and Dental Care to Members of the Reserve Component," is part of a three-year effort to reassess Reserve component health care issues. Known as the 746 Study after the numbered section in the 1997 NDAA, it was undertaken by the Offices of the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Reserve Affairs and Health Affairs.
The complete text of the report is available on line at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/Sec746_111099.html.