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Defense Health Agency Continues Transformation with Colorado Market

Military personnel unveiling flags Army. Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, left, unfurls the Defense Health Agency flag alongside Army Col. Kevin R. Bass, Evans Army Community Hospital commander and Colorado Market director, right, as he unveils the new Colorado Market flag during the market establishment ceremony June 22, 2021, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Vicars, 21st Medical Group, left and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Bethke, Medical Department Activity-Fort Carson, right, assist in unveiling the flags. (Photo by Jeanine Mezei)

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On June 22, the Defense Health Agency established a new direct reporting market centered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, bringing 15 medical facilities under DHA administration.

The Colorado Military Health System consists of four military medical treatment facilities (MTFs), and 11 other medical clinics supporting Fort Carson, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Space Force Base and Buckley Space Force Base. The market serves a population of about 216,000 eligible Military Health System beneficiaries and treats about 3,400 patients on an average day.

The director of the DHA, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, and the new Colorado market director, Army Col. Kevin Bass, hosted a ceremony at Peterson ushering in the new market.

Place commended MTF leaders for the progress they made leading up to market establishment.

"You're entrusted with supporting diverse elements of our national defense team - the cadets and faculty of the Air Force Academy, a major infantry division of the United States Army, United States NORTHCOM and the United States SPACECOM, two of only 11 unified combatant commands, the headquarters for United States Space Force and the joint team that supports the NORAD. "That's really impressive," Place said. "The work done by medical leaders to get to this point is equally impressive."

Place reminded those is attendance that the market will not only serve service members and their families in the Colorado Springs area, but will serve military, dependents and retirees throughout an area stretching from Wyoming to New Mexico.

Military personnel posing for a picture
The Colorado Market establishment ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, on June 22, 2021, included a cake cutting with Air Force Col. Patrick Pohle, 21st Medical Group commander, left, Army Col. Kevin R. Bass, Evans Army Community Hospital commander and Colorado Market director, Army. Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, Air Force Col. Christopher Grussendorf, 10th Medical Group commander, and Air Force Col. Shannon Phares, 460th Medical Group. (photo by Airman Aaron Edwards).

Place said the integration of services in a combined effort was key to getting the Colorado Military Health System off the ground.

"We're at this ceremony today because Army and Air Force Leadership, along with their staffs, were committed to this shared mission," said Place.

Bass, Evans Army Community Hospital commander and now the Colorado Military Health System director, echoed Place.

"The military treatment facilities that make up this market have a long history of working together to ensure the delivery of safe and quality health care to over 216,000 beneficiaries throughout Southern Colorado," said Bass. "As an integrated health care system, we will optimize access to care for our beneficiaries and maintain a ready medical force."

Establishing markets allows military medical treatment facilities within these markets to improve coordination with each other. They work with local, federal, state and civilian health entities to improve patient services. The Colorado Military Health System will operate as a system - sharing patients, staff, and budgets - to improve readiness and the delivery and coordination of health services, regardless of whether the facilities are Army or Air Force.

The Colorado Military Health System follows the establishment of five previous markets. With the addition of Colorado, current DHA markets are:

  • Central North Carolina
  • Coastal Mississippi
  • Colorado
  • Jacksonville
  • National Capital Region
  • Tidewater

The complete transition of MTFs to the DHA includes 19 direct reporting markets, 17 small markets and many stand-alone MTFs across the country that will report to a Small Market and Stand Alone MTF Organization, and two overseas Defense Health Agency Regions.

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