Back to Top Skip to main content

Pediatric care in the military rated 'excellent' but can improve

Experts say pediatric care within the Military Health System is excellent as they strive to improve and provide top-quality care for military children. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel) Experts say pediatric care within the Military Health System is excellent as they strive to improve and provide top-quality care for military children. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Military Health System Review Report

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — In a year of change within the Military Health System, parents can rest assured that industry experts, physicians, and leaders have been working diligently to improve pediatric care across the enterprise.

The Defense Health Board, made up of nationally recognized civilian medical experts, has completed a top-to-bottom review of pediatric health care in the military and recently released a comprehensive report of their findings and recommendations. According to the report, when the quality of life (including physical and mental health) of the families of service members is compromised, the Department of Defense’s military mission is compromised as well.

“Taking good care of our dependent beneficiaries is a readiness issue,” said Dr. Terry Adirim, acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. “It’s critical that our active duty service members, whether deployed or not, should not have to worry about their children.”

The MHS is committed to delivering quality health care rooted in prevention, focused on wellness, and committed to patient satisfaction. The board found that care for more than 2 million military children eligible for TRICARE is generally excellent, but there are opportunities for improvement. The board’s recommendations were based on four overarching findings:

  • Beneficiaries find health care delivery inside the MHS difficult to navigate. The Department needs to assure a positive patient and family experience, and high-quality, coordinated care for all pediatric beneficiaries.
  • The MHS lacks an enterprisewide system to accurately and consistently track care, cost, and quality of services provided. Outcomes should be tracked, measured, and reported across the MHS to ensure delivery of cost-effective, quality care to all pediatric beneficiaries.
  • MHS care for pediatric beneficiaries, whether through a military treatment facility or civilian provider, varied. Care should be standardized to support patient- and family-centered, timely, and efficient care to all pediatric beneficiaries.
  • High-quality, coordinated health care is inconsistently provided for pediatric patients with chronic conditions and complex requirements who need integrated services, especially during relocations or deployments. The MHS should improve access and use telehealth technology to provide integrated and continuous care for all beneficiaries regardless of location.

The MHS has made progress on a few points ahead of the report’s release as it works with families, providers, industry experts, and advocacy groups to improve, said Adirim. Advances continue in the areas of standardization and coordination of care, and ensuring families have access to the best care available. MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record, will continue to be phased into military treatment facilities. It is designed as a standardized system to allow for consistent and coordinated care, and to provide a means of gathering metrics.

Efforts are also underway to ensure children and their families receive continuous quality care covered by TRICARE, and have seamless access to subspecialty care. The transition from three TRICARE regions to two may help reduce differences in care, said Navy Capt. Edward Simmer, chief clinical officer for TRICARE Health Plans at the Defense Health Agency. The MHS is focused on integration so that the same care and standards are applied, whether patients are receiving care at a military treatment facility or through a civilian provider, he added.

“We do a very good job of pediatric care in the MHS, but we could do better,” said Simmer. “We are working to make this so it’s one system of care. And no matter where you’re getting that care, it should look very similar.”

Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, a psychiatrist and board member, said the recommendations highlight opportunities to strengthen patient and family experiences during the ongoing transition in the MHS, particularly in clinical preventive services, primary and specialty care, and behavioral health. Improving access to and coordination of care is especially important for children with complex health care needs, he added.

“A number of system issues that are outlined in the report are similar to many of the issues going on in the private sector,” said Lazarus. As subcommittee chair for neurological and behavioral health, Lazarus worked with retired Maj. Gen. George Anderson, subcommittee chair for health care delivery, on the review. “This is an opportunity for MHS to be a leader in implementation of pediatric quality measures, where measures haven’t been nearly as researched or used as those in adult medicine.”

Throughout the assessment, senior leaders worked with the board to help members understand the complexity of the MHS, said Adirim. Listening to the suggestions and concerns of advocacy groups, parents, and doctors is critical to identifying issues in a large, integrated system, she added.

“Our priority is to make access to the care as easy and seamless as possible,” said Adirim. “I look forward to working with the board to ensure the recommendations are met, and working with families and advocacy groups to ensure changes are communicated.”

You also may be interested in...

HPV vaccine now recommended for those up to age 45

1/14/2020 Recent CDC and FDA guidance recommends that men and women up to 45 years of age get vaccinated to protect against the Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and can cause certain cancers and genital warts. More than 14 million new HPV infections occur in the U.S. each year, and about 80 percent of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some point in their lives. (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases image)

HPV shot protects against a host of diseases in men, women

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Men's Health | Women's Health | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations

U.S. Transportation Command: DoD’s manager for global patient movement

An ambulance bus backs up to the Mississippi Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III as Airmen prepare to unload patients at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The bus transports the ill and/or injured to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. JBA and Travis Air Force Base, California, serve as the primary military entry points or hubs for patient distribution within the continental United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Karina Luis)

On a weekly basis, USTRANSCOM moves up to 40 patients from overseas to CONUS

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Joint Chiefs say mind, body, spirit all part of Total Force Fitness

Image of a Marine climbing a rope ladder

2020 focus on factors making service members, families “resilient”

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Operation Live Well

Navy Medicine demonstrates Virtual Health options to Africa

Air Force Staff Sgt. Danny Lim practices conducting a throat examination on Army Sgt. Harvey Drayton at Chabelley Airfield, Djibouti. Drayton and Lim were introduced to the Telehealth In A Bag system during a recent visit that included personnel from Regional Health Command Europe's virtual health team. (U.S. Army photo by Russell Toof)

Djibouti hosts the largest U.S. American military base on the African continent

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Air Force studies fatigue, sleep to enhance readiness

An Air Force Airman sleeps inside a C-17 Globemaster III during a flight over an undisclosed location in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration)

Good sleep habits are closely related to overall health and performance

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Sleep

Achievements in 2019 provide strong foundation for year ahead

A Year in Review: Year of Military Health 2019

Dedication, commitment to mission praised as changes continue

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | MHS GENESIS | Research and Innovation | Preventive Health | MHS Transformation

Guard and Reserve crucial to CCATT expansion

Air Force Maj. Lori Wyatt, a Critical Care Air Transport Team nurse, assigned to the 167th Airlift Wing, Martinsburg, West Virginia, assembles a gurney during a casualty evacuation training at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport. The Air Force is increasing the number of CCATTs to support future readiness requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. De-Juan Haley)

The Guard and Reserve support the bulk of aeromedical evacuation, CCATT capabilities

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Air Force, Army medics save groom

Airmen from the 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron simulate life-saving procedures to a training manikin onboard a KC-135 Stratotanker during an exercise out of Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 18th AES maintains a forward operating presence, and was instrumental in saving an Airman’s life. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Seefeldt)

NCO’s first aeromedical evacuation mission was definitely challenging

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

McCaffery AMSUS Remarks 2019


McCaffery statements made during the 2019 annual meeting of AMSUS

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

McCaffery calls for military medical strategic framework for warfighting readiness

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery speaks on Thursday at the annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals. McCaffery announced to the nearly 2,000 conference attendees that he has asked the Military Health System's senior leadership to develop and codify a formal strategic framework to guide integrating and optimizing all MHS components to meet his vision. (MHS photo)

'New reality' includes tight synchronization, expanding partnerships

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | MHS Transformation

MSMR Vol. 26 No. 12 - December 2019


A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Editorial: Mitigating the risk of disease from tick-borne encephalitis in U.S. military populations; Tick-borne encephalitis surveillance in U.S. military service members and beneficiaries, 2006–2018; Case report: Tick-borne encephalitis virus infection in beneficiaries of the U.S. military healthcare system in southern Germany; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2014–June 2019

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Award-winning Navy team successfully improves care for women, infants

Labor and Delivery providers were the front-line adopters of the Induction of Labor care pathway at Naval Medical Center San Diego. As of July 2019, over 80 percent of the hospital’s providers were using the pathway. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A. Boomhower)

An award-winning team of nurses successfully implemented a treatment guide at Naval Medical Center San Diego that improves labor and delivery outcomes

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Children's Health | Women's Health

Military medical reform is an opportunity to make trauma care better

Army Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, U.S. Army Surgeon General, spoke to surgeons at the Defense Committee on Trauma and Committees on Surgical and En Route Combat Casualty Care Conference held in San Antonio, Texas, on November 13. He spoke about the plans for current and future trauma and surgical initiatives within Army Medicine and that surgeons must be involved in improving trauma care during this time of military medical reform. (U.S. Army Image by Rebecca Westfall)

There is an opportunity to bring real change to how the military handles combat trauma care

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Preventing seasonal influenza

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jaqueline Mbugua and members of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Medical Group traveled to the Roxy Theater on Joint Base Cape Cod to provide flu shots to Airmen Nov. 2, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Swanson).

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations

The art of moulage

Combat Medic Training program students at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston conduct an emergency cricothyrotomy on a “casualty” during simulation training. The “wounded” manikin also presents with facial burns that were created with moulage techniques. (DoD photo by Lisa Braun)

METC combat medic manikins rock realistic wounds

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 46

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.