Legislation Would Protect Medical Facilities from Closure during Transition to New Agency

Legislation Would Protect Medical Facilities from Closure during Transition to New Agency

The Defense Department would be barred from closing any of its 680 hospital and clinics until the military services have finished transferring them to the Defense Health Agency (DHA), under language in the portion of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill approved last week by the House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee. The provision also postpones the existing deadline for the services to transfer their military treatment facilities by two years until Sept. 30, 2020.

DOD established the DHA in 2013 to assume management responsibility for numerous functions of the military health system. The FY 2017 defense authorization bill set Oct. 1, 2018, as the deadline for the new agency to be responsible for the administration of each treatment facility, covering budgetary matters, information technology, and health care administration and management. That measure also called for the department to prepare an implementation plan detailing how the transition would eliminate duplicative activities carried out by the DHA and the services, and maximize efficiencies in the activities carried out by the DHA.

The language in the Personnel Subcommittee’s part of the FY 2019 policy bill specifies that DOD “may not close any military medical treatment facility, limit the health services provided by a military medical treatment facility or take any action to begin such a closure or limitation” until the completion of the transition to the DHA.

Army photo by Sgt. Micah Merrill

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