Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Defense Health Agency takes action against COVID-19

Image of medical worker  putting on gloves and a mask The Department of Defense is working swiftly to aid in COVID-19 countermeasures. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Kimberly Wyss, from Ventura, California, dons surgical gloves aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy, March 29. Mercy deployed in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore base hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

A swift response is needed to deal with an emerging virus like the one that causes COVID-19. From the race for a vaccine to the release of preventive safety guidance, the Department of Defense is working quickly to keep citizens safe from the virus. Government agencies like the Defense Health Agency help bring that safety to military hospitals across the globe.

DHA has improved its programs and resources to respond to COVID-19. DHA acts as the central conduit for all medical requests for information from military hospitals. Providers and beneficiaries can obtain information in a couple of ways:

DHA’s Nurse Advice Line offers registered nurses that are trained to triage beneficiaries, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The nurses offer self-care advice, refer the beneficiary for testing if appropriate, or coordinate clinically appropriate care. The care may be a virtual appointment with a provider, a referral to an urgent care center, or a visit to the emergency room.

If the beneficiary is referred to a military hospital or market ER, the nurse on call will notify the ER of the upcoming beneficiary visit. If the beneficiary is referred to a network ER, the nurse will remind the beneficiary to notify the ER in advance or tell the 911 dispatcher that he or she is suspected to have COVID-19.

DHA’s TRICARE Health Plan formed a work group to focus on COVID-19 efforts and coordinate with DHA’s managed care support contractor partners, HealthNet Federal Services or HNFS and Humana Government Business or HGB. HNFS and HGB continue to work between the Direct CareDirect care refers to military hospitals and clinics, also known as “military treatment facilities” and “MTFs.”direct care (military treatment facilities or MTFs) and Purchased CareThe TRICARE Health Program is often referred to as purchased care. It is the services we “purchase” through the managed care support contracts.purchased care sectors. As the situation evolves, this coordination finds gaps early and allows contingency planning for network providers to accept MTF patients if needed. This collaboration also ensures visibility of COVID-19 cases to leadership in both direct and purchased care.

Additionally, both contractors help connect network providers to support coordination for the deployments of the USNS Mercy and Comfort. HNFS and HGB are reaching out to beneficiaries directly to process and collect enrollment forms and guarantee continued access to care. They also receive and process all private sector claims for COVID-19 testing, assess no copays or cost-shares, and coordinate reporting of COVID-19 lab testing with network laboratories.

To maintain the safety of patients who are currently hospitalized, HNFS and HGB are coordinating ambulance transports to relocate non-COVID-19 patients to alternate hospitals. Both contractors are also working to identify and better support the most vulnerable members of the population. To date, HNFS has contacted 614 case management beneficiaries and 438 disease management beneficiaries to verify disaster preparedness. HGB has fielded almost 2,000 calls related to COVID-19.

The Joint Operations Center is also supporting COVID-19 efforts by acting as the information hub of DHA. The JOC collects requests and information from across the military, including the Joint Staff, combatant commands, and a variety of other military organizations. The JOC then provides that information to the proper authorities in DHA to take action.

“By ensuring that the JOC is getting current and accurate information, we can make sure that the DHA leadership provides our primary stakeholders with the best resources we can offer,” said Neil Doherty, task lead for the JOC.

Information collected from Doherty’s team helps inform DHA leadership on how to proceed with preventive measures. This information helped DHA stand up a crisis action team, or CAT, in direct response to the spread of COVID-19 diagnoses in the United States.

A CAT is usually established for an unplanned event that has wide impact, from natural disasters such as hurricanes to widespread illness such as the current outbreak. A CAT is made up of a team of subject matter experts who work together to share information on these wide-impact issues. This team helps the flow of information up and down the chain of command to make sure the entire DHA enterprise is moving appropriately and efficiently.

The CAT was set up for COVID-19 in response to the impact on service members and other beneficiaries around the world. According to the CAT, any pandemic can have impacts to the medical readiness of service members. This makes taking precautions, especially when traveling, important for the uniformed services.

The DoD has posted travel guidance that should help slow the domestic spread of the virus. The DHA helped finalize and distribute the Force Health Protection or FHP Guidance released by DoD and available on Health.mil. The first FHP Guidance was released in early January.

The most recent FHP guidance related to travel was effective March 13. The new guidance adds extra safety precautions when traveling abroad, identifying high-risk areas throughout the globe by category. The guidance also offers suggested tips for pre- and post-travel.

Service members and beneficiaries are encouraged to keep up to date on guidance provided by DoD and CDC in response to COVID-19. To learn more about DHA actions to combat the illness, visit the Military Health System or TRICARE websites.

You also may be interested in...

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

COVID 19 Vaccine Is Now Available for Children 5 to 11

Article
11/9/2021
5-year-old girl in mask reads a book by herself

COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds are ready now through MHS

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Myths & facts about the vax - debunking common COVID-19 vaccine myths

Article
9/29/2021
Myths and facts about the vax

The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated across the Department of Defense and despite its demonstrated effectiveness and safety, a host of myths have left some Airmen and Guardians hesitant to receive it. While social media posts and some news outlets may make it harder to keep up with what is fact or fiction, the science is clear … approved COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus | Deployment Health

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Military Health System Transformation
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 26

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.