More retirees, family members to be booted from military hospitals under Pentagon reform plans

As the Department of Defense continues to streamline and transform its military health system, more military hospitals and clinics will stop taking retiree patients, their families and even some active-duty family members, according to the Defense Health Agency director.

At the annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals, in National Harbor, Md., Lt. Gen. Ronald Place told attendees that after the Pentagon completes its assessments of its medical facilities and their contributions to readiness, more non-active duty beneficiaries will be transferred to Tricare networks. Until the report is completed, however, there’s no way of knowing how many retirees and family members will be forced to leave military treatment facilities or which hospitals and clinics will be affected.

Place said as installations undergo personnel fluctuations and changes in mission, military health facilities will adapt, and those changes are likely to affect non-uniformed beneficiaries.

He cited recent changes at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Sill, Okla., that downgraded those posts’ military hospitals to outpatient clinics — a reconfiguration that resulted in the disenrollment of retirees, retiree family members and some active duty family members from those facilities.

“I do anticipate more of that happening in the future,” Place said. “I’m not talking about tomorrow, I’m not even talking about next week. But as an evolving organization, we will have changes.”

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Author: Dian Welle