Back to Top Skip to main content

MHS leaders discuss future of military medicine during AMSUS panel

Military personnel, wearing masks, standing in a line in front of flags The military’s top medical leaders pose for a photo after presenting Senior Leadership Panel at Defense during the 2020 Association of Military Surgeons of the United States’ annual meetings. (Photo Courtesy of Office of the Army Surgeon General.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program | MHS Transformation

The top leaders in military medicine discussed the future of the Military Health System and its impact on mission readiness during a Senior Leadership Panel Dec. 8 at the annual meeting of The Society of Federal Health Professionals (AMSUS).

The virtual event was moderated by Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and the panelists included Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency; Air Force Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs, Joint Staff surgeon; the surgeons general of the Army and Navy, Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle and Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham; deputy surgeon general of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. Sean Murphy, and Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences President Dr. Richard Thomas.

Place began the discussion by saying that, despite setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the transfer in management of more than 700 Army, Navy and Air Force hospitals, medical and dental clinics to the DHA is on track.

“Some important dialogue, feedback loops, improvements, etc. were made during the pause of transition activities,” Place said. “So, there are some improvements that have been made in the intervening several months as well.”

Place said the DHA structure allows them to provide the best treatment options for MHS beneficiaries by moving resources, including personnel, equipment, funding, and capabilities, within a given geographic area.

“The patient-facing side of it is a standardization of practices and procedures such that, it's not a different way to make an appointment at each of the different MTFs, it's a single way. In fact, it's a single appointment line for all of them,” Place said. “It's the way that the pharmacies work, the way that the laboratories work. It's all standardized such that it's easier and more intuitive for each of the patients.”

For Dingle, readiness is the key issue during the transition.

“That readiness includes everything from recruiting, organizing, training and equipment, to making sure that all of those health care professionals are ready to deploy to support tomorrow's battles,” Dingle said.

Gillingham, Dingle’s Navy counterpart, agreed. He also said COVID-19 has highlighted the critical impact of the MHS to readiness of U.S. military forces.

“I think COVID has dramatically emphasized the role that the military has in place, not only in the care delivered in the MTF, but in the installation support,” Gillingham said. “In our case, to keep the fleet or the Marine Corps healthy and ready.”

Thomas also said he thinks the efficiency a “system of systems” created by the MHS has shown, bringing together elements from military and VA hospitals for instance, has been highlighted by the pandemic.

“Although we are at the highest level of hospitalizations in the pandemic, we’re at the lowest level of taskings for military personnel because of these partnerships,” Thomas said. “And the way ahead for us I hope will be to continue to leverage those partnerships and to look for opportunities, not just in a pandemic but to work more closely, sustaining currency and readiness, or any of the other tasks.”

From a Defense Health Agency perspective, Place said the ability to use the interoperability created by the DHA has proved invaluable. Just one example of this is the collection of COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Patients from facilities throughout the MHS contributed to the Secretary of Defense’s goal of collecting 10,000 units of CCP between June and September of this year. Approximately 3,000 donors, all of whom had recovered from the virus, contributed to the campaign.

Place said the integration of the Armed Services blood system and each of the individual services’ blood programs allowed them to locate potential donors and make CCP available across the enterprise.

The improvement of processes is also an integral part of the transition, continuity, and planning operations for the future.

“I think that's been very helpful to all of us,” Thomas said. “I think the importance of continuity of operations planning has been paramount.”

Throughout the event, the panelists agreed that the focus is on the mission and making sure the health system is positioned to meet that mission.

You also may be interested in...

MHS Transformation results continue during COVID-19

Article
1/21/2021
Military personnel in a supply room, reaching for the top shelf

The MTF transition has enabled the DHA and the Services to increase standardization, eliminate duplicative contracts, and realize cost efficiencies by beginning the management of an enterprise-wide program.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS Transformation

DOD recommends adults 75 and older should seek COVID-19 vaccine

Article
1/19/2021
Nursing home members, wearing masks, wait in a line to get their COVID vaccine

This age recommendation differs slightly from that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends vaccinations for those 65 and older.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Is It Your Time to Get the Vaccine? | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine for Adults Age 75 and Older

LTG Place Vaccine Roll-Out Video

Video
1/18/2021
DHA Seal

DHA Director LTG Ron Place talks about coronavirus vaccines, their safety and efficacy, and encourages everyone to do their own research to get vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

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

Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health

Article
1/14/2021
Image of Mr. Adler with text: "Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health."

Jamie Adler, the lead for the DHA’s Virtual Health Clinical Integration Office, discusses the future of virtual health (VH).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Connected Health

COVID-19 hinders blood donations during National Blood Donor Month

Article
1/14/2021
Navy Capt. R. Wade Blizzard, commanding officer of U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia, donates blood for the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Units Diego Garcia walking blood bank on Dec. 17, 2020. The walking blood bank is a list of eligible donors who can provide blood in case of emergency. (U.S. Navy photo by Navy Seaman Apprentice Stevin Atkins)

Life-saving blood is in high-demand by the Armed Services Blood Program, as the COVID-19 has negatively impacted donations.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Public Health | Coronavirus | Holiday Observances

COVID presents new set of challenges for DOD environmental health

Article
1/12/2021
Group of Marines, snowshoeing through the snow

One of the most important factors to take into account when maintaining one’s overall fitness is physical environment.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness in a Pandemic | Reintroducing Total Force Fitness | January Toolkit | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness

DOD Launches “My MilLife Guide” Text Message Program to Boost Wellness

Article
1/11/2021
The new My MilLife Guide program supports the wellness of the military community.

DoD has launched My MilLife Guide, a new program that sends text messages designed to help the military community boost overall wellness while navigating stresses related to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Operation Live Well | Health Readiness

Navy corpsman provides multitude of support to hospital

Article
1/8/2021
Two military personnel, wearing masks, in a supply room looking at the shelves

“Thinking outside the box is what makes a great person, let alone a Sailor," Tie said.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

MTF facilities, markets set to resume transition heading into 2021

Article
1/6/2021
A military nurse, wearing a mask, prepares a needle for a vaccination

Butler says transition on track.

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Coronavirus

BACH healthcare workers and first responders vaccinated for COVID-19

Article
1/6/2021
Soldier gives a nurse a vaccine in her left arm

BACH now joins other Defense Health Agency military treatment facilities that have received the vaccine, marking the start of a phased-in vaccination program to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Recommended Content:

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

Countering seasonal depression during the COVID-19 pandemic

Article
1/5/2021
Man with his head in his hands, sitting in front of a Christmas tree

SAD, or sometimes called seasonal depression, is a subtype of a major depressive disorder.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Wellness | Mental Health Care | Depression | Suicide Prevention

MHS operational innovations continue in battle against COVID-19

Article
1/5/2021
Two medical personnel, wearing full PPE, in an operating room

MHS innovations in 2020 include a new registry for real-time COVID-19 data and a system to free up hospital beds and protect patients from the disease.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation | Innovation | Technology

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Publication
1/5/2021

This toolkit provides communicators across the Military Health System (MHS) with important information about the COVID-19 prevention and vaccination from the CDC to share with patients and health care professionals.

Recommended Content:

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

COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit

Publication
1/5/2021

These messages are provided for you to use on your platforms with any of the images from the COVID-19 Toolkit.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Remote monitoring program enables COVID-19 patients to recover at home

Article
1/4/2021
Two medical personnel, wearing masks, looking at the contents of a home-based COVID treatment kit

The program equips COVID-19 patients needing additional monitoring with a home healthcare kit and 24/7 oversight from registered nurses to ensure a higher level of post-hospital care.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | Innovation
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 34

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.