Government healthcare contractors are essential to delivering healthcare services to active-duty service members, their families, retirees, and veterans. Partnerships with government healthcare contractors fill gaps and bring specialized skills. Some contractors provide personnel services such as nurses, doctors, therapists, and mental health care providers; others provide operational consulting, analytics, IT services, and staff development. Healthcare contractors have been instrumental in special projects like the MHS GENESIS, DoD’s new unified electronic medical information system.
The DoD and VA are large-scale healthcare providers, serving more than 9 million healthcare beneficiaries. These systems, including a health insurance program, TRICARE, and immediate assistance through the health centers, have been designed from the ground up to meet the needs of active-duty personnel, their families, military retirees, and veterans.
But the work to improve quality never stops. The Military Health System (MHS) is committed to value and strives toward achieving the following goals:
- Readiness: The Military Health System defines readiness as a two-fold goal. The MHS system must ensure that the military force is physically and mentally ready to deploy. The military health system must be prepared to deliver healthcare at any time and location to meet military and humanitarian needs.
- Population Health: For the MHS, it’s not just about diagnosing and treating illness; population health aims to foster and improve the baseline health of the people they serve. Prevention and resilience are essential as well.
- Patient experience: Care must be patient, family-centered, and high-quality. It is also vital to have sensitivity and awareness of patients’ experiences.
- Financial stewardship: Value means delivering high-quality care while eliminating waste. The MHS takes the long view—costs over time are analyzed instead of just looking at the cost of an individual medical service.
The vision of MHS Quadruple Aim articulates and defines these goals.
Meeting the Needs of Active-Duty Personnel, Military Retirees, and Their Families
Individuals served by the military health system have all the same basic healthcare needs as the general population and specialized needs related to current or past service. That means the healthcare system supports individuals and their families throughout their lives.
- The MHS provides primary care services, reproductive and pediatric healthcare, management and support of long-term conditions, and behavioral health services. The MHS mirrors and partners with the civilian health systems.
- Because of the readiness issues, the Military Health System also works on human performance training and conditioning to build up the strength and resilience of service members.
- Innovations in treatment and rehab often are born in the Military Health System. Many of those who have served in the military have subjected their bodies and minds to extraordinary limits. The stress of life-threatening situations and the damage of combat injuries need specialized care. Treatment and rehabilitation are critical parts of the work of the MHS. The DHA Research and Engineering (R&E) Directorate oversees the implementation of research and clinical innovation. Recently, the Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence (EACE) joined the Defense Health Agency. EACE is the leader in extremity trauma-related research. Through clinical practice innovations, EACE seeks to improve outcomes for service members and veterans. Other Centers of Excellence include the Hearing Center of Excellence, Psychological Health Center of Excellence, Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, and Vision Center of Excellence.
- Active-Duty personnel and their families are more likely to relocate to new regions and need to find new providers. Continuity of care from wherever they are is essential. Health records must move through the system and need to be accessible.
Healthcare contractors are actively engaged and committed to meeting the needs of Active-Duty service members, their families, and veterans, whether on the direct service side or behind-the-scenes planning and implementing improvements for DOD and VA.
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