From the Huffingtonpost.com

No, not that “Force”… the “Force of the Future”, a hot topic recently within DoD circles, as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has advocated a host of changes he hopes will bring the military personnel system into the 21st century. Secretary Carter personally called upon the Pentagon “to think outside our five-sided box and try to make ourselves even better at attracting talent from new generations of Americans.” While the primary purpose of the personnel system is to recruit, train, and retain men and women to serve in our nation’s armed forces, there is a critical audience that is being overlooked as reform is being discussed; military children today and the impact their current healthcare will have on that “force of the future”.

Two decades after the creation of TRICARE, the latest iteration of the military health system, 2016 is already being touted as the “Year of TRICARE Reform” by Congress and the White House. Though appropriately lauded for its many capabilities and advances in combat care, a host of entities, including The New York Times, the The Chicago Tribune and Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) have pointed out significant issues with DoD’s provision of healthcare to its military families. DoD’s own Military Health System Review found it provided “average care”, noting a number of significant issues. One of the reviewers, Dr. Peter Pronovost, the senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, noted, “The culture around safety, quality and access seems to be one of mediocrity rather than one of national leadership.” Similarly, after a DoD report on military pediatric healthcare stated it provided “adequate” care for military kids, the Senate Armed Services Committee responded strongly with this admonishment,

The report deeply concerns the committee because data gaps and deficiencies in this area fail to substantiate the conclusion that the military health system meets the health care needs of children, especially those children with special needs.

Our TRICARE for Kids Coalition was grateful to recently have the opportunity to meet with House and Senate Armed Services Committee staffers to brief them on the importance of ensuring military children’s health needs are included in any discussion of reform. Here is the handout provided: HASC/SASC Brief on Pediatrics

So, where are the gaps in TRICARE pediatric coverage?

Find out that and more here at the Huffingtonpost.com.

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