Back to Top Skip to main content

McCaffery offers MHS view with Blue Star Families panel

Thomas McCaffery (center) participated in the Blue Star Families Panel at American Red Cross National Headquarters Feb. 26. He is seen here with Amy Goyer (left), family and caregiving expert at AARP, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Patty Horoho (right), CEO of OptumServe. The panel discussed timely, quality health care for service members and their families. (Photo by MHS Communications) Thomas McCaffery (center) participated in the Blue Star Families Panel at American Red Cross National Headquarters Feb. 26. He is seen here with Amy Goyer (left), family and caregiving expert at AARP, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Patty Horoho (right), CEO of OptumServe. The panel discussed timely, quality health care for service members and their families. (Photo by MHS Communications)

Recommended Content:

Access to Health Care | MHS Transformation | MHS GENESIS | Mental Health Care

Thomas McCaffery participated in a Blue Star Families panel at American Red Cross National Headquarters Feb. 26. As the assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, McCaffery briefed the audience on how the Military Health System is changing to help military families receive timely, quality health care.

Blue Star Families held the event to discuss results of the annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, BSF’s yearly “snapshot” of military families. It offers insights to military and national leaders, as well as local communities.

“An organization like this is critical in terms of connecting military families with our fellow citizens,” McCaffery said of BSF’s work on the survey.

Hisako Sonethavilay, director of applied research at BSF, agreed. “We’re really dedicated to ensuring that research like ours is done in a way that we’re able to … really make some change for military families,” she said.

Survey respondents highlighted relocation, employment and sense of community for military families, and resources for children with special needs as particular areas of concern. Suicide and mental health were also important to respondents. About 40% of surveyed military, veteran, National Guard, and Reserve family respondents said they had attempted or seriously considered suicide in the past year. Nearly half of this group did not get professional help, with 48% of them indicating they did not seek help out of fear for their careers or those of loved ones.

McCaffery urges service members and beneficiaries to use the many resources throughout the Department of Defense that target mental health care.

“Seeking mental health care is no different than seeking care for any other serious health condition,” he said. “You need to seek out services. You need to consult other professionals and ask about those services.”

Multimedia efforts like the Real Warriors Campaign encourage service members to seek treatment as a sign of strength. Real Warriors also provides resources for service members to seek treatment. Programs like InTransition ensure treatment continues as service members and their families move between medical facilities.

These tools are readily available for beneficiaries to use. More changes are underway as a part of the MHS transformation to improve readiness and the quality of health care.

The Defense Health Agency began assuming administrative responsibility for all military hospitals in October 2019. Results from the survey show these changes need to happen. Respondents said finding timely, specialty medical care after a relocation can be challenging.

“One of the benefits of consolidating the management of our facilities is a common, standardized experience,” McCaffery said, “so you can know how to get your prescriptions, how to get lab tests, and most importantly how to get those referrals to specialists.”

MHS GENESIS, the military’s official electronic health record, also helps address this need. As families move from location to location, their records will be stored in one location. Easy access to medical records, from point of injury to treatment, should speed the referral process for families.

McCaffery stressed that patient-centered care is a top DHA priority. Results from the Military Family Lifestyle Survey help leadership create processes to improve care across the services.

“We have to do this together,” Sonethavilay said, “We want to help the [DoD] and military leadership advance military family outcomes…and also understand that there is a critical component to making sure that your civilians have an understanding as well.”

“Our patients are our top priority,” McCaffery agreed. “Everything the MHS does works to enhance the patient experience. We’re going to treat the health system not as separate systems, but as one enterprise.”

You also may be interested in...

DoD Psychotropic Medication Prescription Practices and Complementary Alternative Medicine Use

Report
6/1/2011

Defense Health Board: DoD Psychotropic Medication Prescription Practices and Complementary Alternative Medicine Use

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care

TRICARE Policy for Access to Care

Policy

This memorandum rescinds and replaces several previously-issued Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) (ASD[HA]) policy memoranda regarding TRICARE policy for access to care. To the extent practicable, this policy applies to overseas locations and to the TRICARE Overseas Program contractor with consideration that overseas/foreign locations often present unique circumstances.

Psychiatric Medications and Complementary and Alternative Medical Treatments

Presentation
8/18/2010

Psychiatric Medications and Complementary and Alternative Medical Treatments briefing presented to the Defense Health Board Aug. 18, 2010

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

Mental Health Assessments for Members of the Armed Forces Deployed in Connection with a Contingency Operation

Policy

Metrics for DoD Mental Health Preclinical Program Effectiveness and Clinical Program Outcomes

Report
6/8/2010

Defense Health Board: Metrics for DoD Mental Health Preclinical Program Effectiveness and Clinical Program Outcomes

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care

Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment

Presentation
5/11/2010

Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment briefing presented to the Defense Health Board May 11, 2010

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care

Veteran to Veteran Helpline Program A National Model

Presentation
5/11/2010

Veteran to Veteran Helpline Program A National Model briefing presented to the Defense Health Board May 11, 2010

Recommended Content:

Access to Health Care

Handout on Managing Suicide Risk in Primary Care Practice for Behavioral Health Consultants

Presentation
3/11/2010

Handout on Managing Suicide Risk in Primary Care Practice for Behavioral Health Consultants briefing presented to the Defense Health Board March 11, 2010

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Mental Health Care

Military Culture Mental Health Stigma and new approaches to Mental Health Service Delivery

Presentation
3/11/2010

Military Culture Mental Health Stigma and new approaches to Mental Health Service Delivery briefing presented to the Defense Health Board March 11, 2010

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care

Summary of Key Findings from the Mental Health Advisory Team 6 OEF and OIF

Presentation
1/15/2010

Summary of Key Findings from the Mental Health Advisory Team 6 OEF and OIF presented to the Defense Health Board January 15, 2010

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Suicide Prevention | Research and Innovation

Overview of International Military Health Issues and Information Brief Afghanistan Health Sector

Presentation
11/12/2009

Overview of International Military Health Issues and Information Brief Afghanistan Health Sector presented to the Defense Health Board Nov. 12, 2009

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Mental Health Care

Design Plans for Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir

Report
5/1/2009

Defense Health Board: Design Plans for Walter Reed and Fort Belvoir

Recommended Content:

Access to Health Care | Research and Innovation

Military Health System's Guide to Access Success

Publication
12/15/2008

This document establishes roles, responsibilities, definitions and guidance for implementing, sustaining and managing military treatment facility (MTF) Access to Care (ATC) in the Military Health System (MHS).

Recommended Content:

Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety | Access to Health Care | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Heath

Report
6/1/2007

Defense Health Board: Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Heath

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Health Readiness | Public Health | Deployment Health

Rehabilitative Care and Administrative Processes at Walter Reed and National Naval Medical Center

Report
4/13/2007

Defense Health Board Report on Rehabilitative Care and Administrative Processes at Walter Reed and National Naval Medical Center

Recommended Content:

Access to Health Care
<< < ... 21 22 > >> 
Showing results 301 - 315 Page 21 of 22

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.