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Release No: 668-03
September 10, 2003

DoD Appoints First New Tricare Regional Director

The Department of Defense announced today the appointment of Navy Rear Adm. James A. Johnson, Medical Corps, as the Tricare West Regional Director.  Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr. said, “The appointment of Admiral Johnson as the director of Tricare West Region is another significant step in transforming our Tricare program.  Admiral Johnson brings exceptional talent, skills and vast experience to this new role and responsibility.”

  According to Vice Adm. Michael Cowan, Navy surgeon general, “Admiral Johnson has made invaluable contributions to improving military medical readiness, he has commanded one of the largest military medical centers in the Department of Defense, and he has developed effective relationships with our partners in other federal agencies and with our civilian partners in the community.  He is a leader who is perfectly suited to this new position.”  Johnson is the first of three regional directors to be named. 

The Department of Defense announced the selection of new Tricare health care contractors on Aug. 21, 2003.  The new Tricare West region encompasses twenty states in the western United States and serves a Tricare population of more than 2 million beneficiaries.  TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. was awarded the contract for the Tricare West Region that Johnson will oversee.  The other new regional contractors are Humana Military Healthcare Services in the South region, and Health Net Federal Services in the North region. 

The new Tricare regional directors’ responsibilities include administration of the health care contracts for their regions; providing support to the military medical facility commanders in the region; sustaining quality care, and improving customer satisfaction across the health care delivery system. 

Johnson has served more than 37 years in the Navy in a variety of health care–related positions.  He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology/Chemistry at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and his Medical Degree at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.  He served both his internship and residency at the University of California in Los Angeles.  He earned medical certificates from the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Medical Management.  Johnson’s most recent assignments included serving as the commander of the Naval Medical Center, San Diego; medical officer of the Marine Corps; and principal director for clinical and program policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

The Tricare Management Activity provides daily oversight of the department’s health care program, Tricare, for more than 8.7 million beneficiaries of the uniformed services.


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