TRICARE Management Activity Launched
By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 1998 Military health patients won't notice anything different immediately, but in the long run, the new TRICARE Management Activity could improve DoD health care services.
Deputy Director Diana Tabler said the new DoD Health Affairs field agency, which stood up Feb. 10, will ensure consistent implementation of health care reforms and move the military health system toward performance-based management. Tabler announced creation of the agency at the TRICARE worldwide conference here Feb. 9.
Health affairs set up the activity to comply with Defense Secretary William Cohen's defense reform initiative. The December 1997 initiative called for DoD offices to separate their operations and support elements from policy-making. While health affairs policy makers remain housed in the Pentagon, its TRICARE operations and support will now reside in suburban Washington and Denver. The agency incorporates the TRICARE Support Office, formerly CHAMPUS, based in Aurora, Colo.
Tabler said the new agency's priorities include force medical protection, Medicare subvention (delivery of health care to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries over the age of 65) and preventive medicine-wellness issues. The agency also will facilitate a consolidation of TRICARE regional lead agents and infrastructure reductions, and oversee pending transfer of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences from DoD to the Navy. Located near the National Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md., the joint-service medical school will continue serving the Army and Air Force medical communities, as well as the Navy.
Some 439 employees currently staff the new agency, but Tabler said that number will be reduced eventually to 363. Besides Tabler, TRICARE Management Activity leadership includes Navy Rear Adm. Thomas Carrato, chief operating officer. A director has not yet been chosen.