National Military Family Association Wants Action Following Military Health System Review

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Report Reveals Problems in Health Care Access for Military Families

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“The MHS is complex, but I believe together we can solve it.”

The National Military Family Association (NMFA), a nonprofit that works to strengthen and protect military families, announced that the Military Health System (MHS) report released today is proof that military families aren’t getting the health care they deserve.

The 700-page report outlines the state of the MHS and offers an in-depth look at hospitals and clinics across U.S. installations.*

“We’re studying the report and how it addresses some very complex issues,” said NMFA Executive Director Joyce Raezer. “Our main focus is access to care and consistency of care for military families who move every 2-3 years. We want military families to get appointments when they need them and to know the system as a whole is dedicated to delivering quality care. The wide variations in quality and access to care identified in the review must be eliminated.”

“I was extremely heartened to read the statement in the Secretary of Defense memorandum that ‘no patient should be told to call back the next day for an appointment,’ said Raezer. “Our biggest concern is for the military families who often have no choice where they receive care. What happens if their hospital is identified as performing at a less-than-satisfactory level? These families need to be assured improvements will be made where the review found quality problems.”

The Secretary of Defense has set a 45-day goal for recommendations on improving access and creating an action plan for hospitals and clinics found to be below standard for certain services.

“We have offered to work with leaders to come up with solutions,” said Raezer. “The MHS is complex, but I believe together we can solve it.”

NMFA solicited information from military families about their experiences in getting care and about the quality of that care and shared that feedback with Defense officials as part of the review. Issues families raised are similar to those highlighted in the review: access to care, consistency of policies and procedures across all facilities, and attention to patient safety and quality care. “We are encouraged that DoD leaders have committed to reach out to our Association and other beneficiary groups in setting the way forward,” says Raezer.

*US Department of Defense, "Final Report to the Secretary of Defense: Military Health System Review," August 2014. http://www.defense.gov/pubs/140930_MHS_Review_Final_Report_Main_Body.pdf

About National Military Family Association
The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit dedicated to serving the families who stand behind the uniform. Since 1969, NMFA has worked to strengthen and protect millions of families through its advocacy and programs. They provide spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and for the families of the wounded, ill, or injured. NMFA serves the families of the currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA. To get involved or to learn more, visit http://www.MilitaryFamily.org

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Besa Pinchotti
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