A high-level DOD advisory council will focus on how upcoming changes to the military health care system will impact military families.
The Military Family Advisory Council has voted to make the major changes to the military health care system a primary focus for 2020, Military Times reported Friday.
The system has been undergoing reforms since new contracts took effect in 2018. A reduction in TRICARE regions, which offer civilian health care benefits to military personnel, their families and retirees, have caused some families difficulty finding providers and has raised family costs.
“This is an area where there’s going to be a great amount of turbulence associated with the redoing of our health care system, so ultimately it’s really important that we understand how it’s impacting our families as we make these changes,” said Advisory Council Chair James Stewart, who also serves as DOD’s acting personnel and readiness under secretary.
DOD is also transitioning management and administration of Army, Navy and Air Force hospitals and clinics to the DOD’s Defense Health Agency. DOD has also proposed an 18% cut in medical billets, further impacting health care services.
“It’s important for our feedback as representatives of military families to be considered as the process unfolds and decisions are being made, versus after it’s already implemented and becomes much more difficult to change course,” said council member Karen Ruedisueli, who also serves as the National Military Family Association’s government relations deputy director.
DOD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber Smith