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Military Health Care Policy: The Success Of Military Health Care

1869 words - 7 pages

The Department of Defense has the responsibility to manage one of the United State’s largest health care systems, the Military Health System. The Military Health System operates under the mission to enhance the health of the service men and women, while maintaining a high quality, effective benefit to those who qualify for care (Brown et al, 2009). Military Health Systems cover the health care needs of over nine million service men and women and their dependents, through a vast array of military and civilian facilities. The Military Health Services offers three health care benefits to those who are entitles to benefits based on their current military standing: TRICARE (Brown et al, 2009). TRICARE health plans are the replacement for CHAMPUS (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services); which was the main provider of health care services for military dependents. TRICARE’s purpose was to also facilitate members with access to better health care. This program offers primary, secondary, and tertiary care to its beneficiaries. TRICARE is the largest single provider of any form of managed health care in the United States; being the largest provider does not come without changes and upheavals since CHAMPUS was converted into TRICARE (Brown et al, 2009).
In 1993, the CHAMPUS program had a demonstration project that suggested that a reorganization of military health care was necessary. These projects established that the health care techniques used by civilian managed care, could benefit the military. By adapting to the way civilian managed care organizations run, the military could improve their quality of care, increase patient satisfaction, and place a cap on future costs (Kongstvedt, 2007). These projects gave way to the National Defense Authorization Act; in 1994 the military health system was in the process of being modeled after managed health care organizations. This model led the military to start its own managed care network: TRICARE. TRICARE was named after the three military sectors that were benefiting from its care, the Navy, Air Force, and Army; the name also represents the three managed care options the beneficiaries could choose from (Kongstvedt, 2007). The three options beneficiaries could and can choose from are: TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Extra, and TRICARE Standard. Throughout this “change” process, TRICARE was able to adapt a number of thriving attributes from civilian managed care; such as, enrollment of beneficiaries, utilization management, budgeting, and primary care managers (Kongstvedt, 2007). Like civilian managed care, eligibility is still considered with TRICARE. The health care was provided to uniformed service men and women, retired veterans, and their families. In order to be considered for the health care option, beneficiaries must be registered within the Defense Department’s database (Kongstvedt, 2007). The military was able to spot differences in the way their benefits differed from those offered to...

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