More Than 3 Dozen Military Hospitals to Stop Treating Retirees, Families, Memo Shows

| February 11, 2020

Skippy sends us a link to a disturbing memo being distributed to the commanders of 50 military treatment facilities (MTF) by a Lt. Gen. Ronald Pace, who directs the Defense Health Agency. Of course, the specific MTFs affected are not mentioned. I get my health care and referrals from the clinic here at Pax River, and hoped to stay until I reach mandatory Medicare age. This now may change.

From the article:

Amy Bushatz

Military families and retirees receiving care through 38 military hospitals nationwide will soon be forced to go off-base instead, and some pharmacies at those hospitals will stop providing drugs to those not on active duty, Military.com has learned.

A 12-page memo, reviewed by Military.com, was sent to the commanders of 50 military treatment facilities, or MTFs, targeted for changes. It details for commanders the impacts of a planned MTF restructuring, the subject of an upcoming report to Congress. It also includes a letter to commanders explaining upcoming changes, signed by Lt. Gen. Ronald Pace, who directs the Defense Health Agency, and provides communications guidance to public affairs personnel.

The changes are a part of a review of military hospital operations and a system consolidation under the Defense Health Agency ordered by Congress in 2016. Aimed at increasing a focus on military readiness, the consolidation includes a plan to cut about 18,000 uniformed medical personnel and increase focus on active-duty support.

But to do so, the hospitals must cull the number of family members and retirees to whom they currently offer care. The report to Congress detailed in the memo lays out the Pentagon’s path for those changes.

“DoD must adapt the military health system to focus more on readiness of the combined force, while continuing to meet our access to health care obligations for active duty families, retirees and their families,” the Feb. 3 memo states. “With a challenging array of threats around the world, we need our military medical facilities to keep combat forces healthy and prepare our medical personnel to support them.”

Of course the health of the troops and their families come first, but this is just more erosion of earned benefits from a career of service.

Thanks, Skippy, for the head’s up. Read the entire article here: Military.com

Category: Big Pentagon, Guest Link, Military issues, Retired Issues, Veteran Health Care

Comments (35)

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  1. Ret_25X says:

    Just another way DoD is “serving” retirees and family members.

    Making retirees go to civilian providers all sounds great until you find out the nearest TRICARE provider is 30 miles away and is only open on alternate Thursdays.

    This will only work if DHA starts holding Humana accountable on the TRICARE standard side. Right now, it is totally broken in any non-urban zip code.

  2. Commissar says:

    The health services consolidation did not require this. They are cutting services rather than senior staff.

    Trump announced more cuts to come, and he seems to have the backing of republicans on this.

    This time, however, there is a dem house to fight it.

    Perhaps Obama should not have signed the 2016 authorization, But then again, the republicans controlled congress should not have decided to do the cuts and then passed them.

    • Ret_25X says:

      stop it. This consolidation has been part of the strategy since 1993 and in concept goes right back to Wilson’s presidency.

      In 1993, Hillary’s heath care proposal was defeated, but came to the DoD as TRICARE. What was the result? Costs exploded and cronies became billionaires. TRICARE became the monopoly of Humana and retirees and family members had to be brought back on post for “space available’ care in order to save dollars.

      Just remember, the GO/FO crowd thinks retirees, family members, and Reservists should be wound to government programs as dependents. They are in total sync with the left side of aisle on this issue, favoring passing all of those recipients onto other programs like VA, Medicaid, Medicare, and SS.

      So the next time you want to spout about history starting 10 minutes ago, go wash your mouth out with a skunk’s ass.

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        He’s a 24K brainwashed useful idiot who refuses to believe anything that doesn’t have “ORANGE MAN BAD!!!” in it!

      • SgtM says:

        I was married to an active navy po1. Smashed the end of my finger in an accident and tri care sent me to the hospital at Pendleton. Fuck you Lars you pull a 0 every time you post. Fuckin idiot.

  3. Skippy says:

    More BULLSHIT coming from the DOD
    My wife just finished with her cancer treatment
    And a POS hospital in Alamogordo, NM
    Has had a joy of a time triple charging us every time
    We walk in the door
    Tri care can’t understand why so many people
    Around here drive to El Paso to get treatment

  4. ninja says:

    This already started in my AO in 2017.

    The ninja family used various MTFs for over 40 years.

    When members of the ninja family who served on Active Duty for over 30 years and reached a certain age, family members were told “You can’t use the MTFs anymore. You will have to go find a Civilian Doctor to take care of you. However, you can still use our Pharmacies”.

    The ninja family also noticed a BIG Dollar INCREASE in Medical Preminum Insurance after reaching that certain age.

    So the ninja family served our Country, participated in some Conflicts, only to now end up paying more for Medical Insurance and using Civilian Doctors.

    So Much For Taking Care of the Troops. You Gotta Love It. However, It Could Be Worse.

    Gotta Stay Positive.

    😎😉

  5. ninja says:

    AW1Ed,

    When you have the chance after scrubbing the decks, could you please provide a link to the article?

    Thank You!

    😊

    • AW1Ed says:

      Noticed I neglected the link- it’s fixed now. I suck at multitasking.

      • ninja says:

        AW1Ed,

        Thank You.

        You are GREAT at Multi-Tasking.

        Which means you qualify to join the Ranks of the Mule every December.

        You can even help us kidnap that durn Goat.

        There Is Hope! Never Too Late To Get Away From The Dark Side!

        *grin*

        😉😎

        • AW1Ed says:

          Ain’t happening- can’t teach an old goat new tricks.

          But I do have plenty of old tricks at my disposal.
          *grin*

          • ninja says:

            Memo to KoB:

            Bring In the BIG Guns!

            *grin*

            😉😎

            • 5th/77th FA says:

              Now, now, now, Bro ‘Ed ’bout the only thing you may suck at would be the picking of motion pictures that you take Mick to see. Not real sure of the wisdom of the one have a scheduled for 26 Jun upcoming. Man you know you are Top to us, but Mick may be a’Gun ing for you like a Riverboat gambler named Bret or Bart. You do know that an air to air Aerial Platform launched Artillery round was named for them boys don’t you? That name will Gun for Top billing constantly.

              Turning from the Dark Side (BEAT) Navy and joining the Long Gray Line of (GO) Army would be a good thing all around. Just think of the feast of game day munchies that will be laid out as those caissons go rolling along. You’d no longer feel compelled to watch sawed off egotistical punks make B Grade Motion Pictures that are degrading to Aviators everywhere. Maybe even Mick would come to love you as the rest of us do. If it’s the mid rats, keep in mind my Frigidaire has a night light. Leave the Dark Side, we have cookies.

              Back on the thread topic; until the congress critters and Big DoD has to use the same health care that us Great Unwashed have to use, the system will not change. And Larsie Boi, get an effing grip and quit blaming Trump for everything that your socialistic heroes spent the last 50 + years building.

  6. Slow Joe says:

    About time.

    There is always a huge line at the Martin Army Community Hospital.

  7. OWB says:

    OK. Not sure I understand just what has happened in the past few decades that prompted this or the assumption that others should pay for medical care not service related for retirees, much less for family members of retirees.

    What?

  8. Dragoon 45 says:

    When I was a USMC Recruiter I was directed to emphasis to new recruits that if they stayed in till retirement, they would get free medical care for life, no matter what the condition was. Further that offer applied to their dependents also. There is nothing quite like DoD making you into a liar is there.

    • Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman says:

      Yep. Another data point for NOT joining the military.
      What Teh Gubberment giveith, Teh Gubberment takeith away.

  9. penguinman000 says:

    This has been in the works for a long time. It’s simply too expensive to keep retirees (I are one now) on the rolls at military hospitals. I remember talks about this when Tricare first rolled out (mid/late 90s?) I suspect up next on the block is families with EFMP needs.

    Us old farts (some older than others) have different medical needs than those still in uniform. The $$ cost of caring for retirees is staggering (it’s expensive to get old). And when the brass is presented with choosing between medical care for retirees or paying for weapons systems…well, we are going to be on the losing end of that deal every time.

    This is a clear example of how expensive “free” healthcare is. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone, somewhere is paying for it.

    Medical systems all around the world are a complete mess. We could start to clean it up here in the states with price transparency, banning advertising for medications (though as a general rule I hate advocating for the government banning anything) and making efforts to start cutting out middle men.

    Insurance companies are in the business of taking in premiums and not paying out claims.

    Just like higher ed, we’ve allowed an unsustainable solution to take hold. While health care gets more expensive doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff aren’t seeing that money. You know who is? The middle men who aren’t adding much of anything to the equation other than ensure a wallet biopsy is done on every patient with health insurance (further driving up costs).

    • Jus Bill says:

      Well put. You understand, IMO.

      • Penguinman000 says:

        I could stand on this soap box for days. When I retired I had a long talk with myself. I said “self, do you really want to transition to civ medicine?”

        Thank God I had other opportunities. I took the chance and ran away as fast as I could. I’ve never regretted it.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      “Medical systems all around the world are a complete mess.”
      Starting with [Formerly] Great Britain and Canada. Yes Canada, because if their socialized medical system is SO terrific then why are US Hospitals near our Northern Border chock full of Canadians getting Medical Care that their incompetent bureaucrats can’t or won’t deliver?

      • Penguinman000 says:

        I didn’t say their system was better. I said all of the systems are jacked. The only common denominator I see is the more middle men between patients and their doctors the worse the outcome for everyone.

        Social medicine puts unelected bureaucrats between them. Here is the US insurance companies get between. Medical systems would operate much better without so many middlemen who have no interest in the patient.

        Not sure how anything I said, or proposed, indicated I’m for socialized medicine. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a cost someone pays.

  10. gitarcarver says:

    This will not impact me one iota so I don’t have a dog in the hunt.

    That being said, this stinks. Absolutely friggin’ stinks.

    The reason is simple: the men and women who served and their families were made promises by the government for a certain level of care in certain a certain manner.

    The government needs to live up to that promise. Period. End of sentence.

    One cannot tell me that the need to “prioritize” medical health care to active personnel is a new concern. It was the same concern when the the levels and types of care were promised to those who signed on the dotted line and took the oath.

    Many people around here talk about and use the term “honor” in regards to their service.

    Rightfully so.

    Now if the same “honor” was applied to and or kept by the civilian authorities, I’d be a happy camper. But that ain’t happening.

    It’s wrong. Morally and ethically wrong.

    • penguinman000 says:

      I suspect the government’s reply to that would be along the lines of the VA system was created to provide health care to retirees and vets. The DoD was never intended to be a life time source of medical care.

  11. Comm Center Rat says:

    For the last several decades the historical average shows only 17% of all those who enter the Armed Forces will serve long enough to qualify for retirement pay and benefits. That’s right – less than 1 in 5 to wear the uniform.

    The nearest MTF is over an hour from my home so this reduction in services doesn’t impact me or the Spousal Unit because we choose not to use that facility. However, it still pisses me off that those who have served the longest are seeing their benefits eroded. I think this change should be grandfathered so that those of us already retired would be exempt and allowed to continue using an MTF if we so choose.

    And Ret_25X above is on target with his observation about holding Humana accountable. That company has a $40.5 billion, 5 year contract awarded in July 2016 to administer the TRICARE East program. Humana will succeed in one area for sure – pissing off more civilian healthcare providers who will elect not to accept TRICARE coverage because of the expense and untimeliness in getting claims processed/paid.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      And I wonder just how many pols of both parties still make money off of their insider knowledge of Tricare!

  12. OAE CPO USN Ret says:

    DoD: Ok retirees. We’re still going to hold you responsible under the UCMJ which means your ass still belongs to us.

    Also DoD: Dear retirees, GTFO of our MTF’s.

    Did I summarize that correctly?

  13. Devtun says:

    BOHICA!

  14. Sailorcurt says:

    Personally, I prefer using a civilian doc rather than an MTF.

    In my experience, when an MTF is your primary care provider, you make an appointment and then see whoever happens to be available. You don’t really have a “PCM” because you’re assigned to a clinic, not a doctor and you could see virtually anyone.

    When you have a civilian doc, you’ll see the same doc every time. You can build a relationship with them, they know you and your medical history from actually knowing you, not just from what’s written in your record.

    My doc recently retired (something I’d been dreading for years). I was going to have to get a new PCM and I was pretty sure Tricare Prime was going to assign me to an MTF. To prevent that, I dropped Tricare Prime, started private insurance (through my employer) and use Tricare select as secondary. That way I can choose my doc.

    I pay more in premiums, but it’s worth it to not just be another one of the cattle at the MTF.

    At any rate, I’m eager to see if the MTFs in this area are ones that will be cutting off retirees, if that’s the case, I can go back to Tricare Prime and still have a civilian doc.

    That’ll be great for me.