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DHA director discusses healthcare transformation at town hall

Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, discusses the DHA transition during a town hall meeting at Brooke Army Medical Center. On Oct. 1, 2019 BAMC will transition under DHA command and authority. (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards) Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, discusses the DHA transition during a town hall meeting at Brooke Army Medical Center. On Oct. 1, 2019 BAMC will transition under DHA command and authority. (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards)

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JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, held a town hall meeting at Brooke Army Medical Center recently to answer questions about the military health system transformation and how it will further improve healthcare delivery for warfighters, family members and military retirees.

“We have the potential to create the very best healthcare system ever,” Bono said, “not just for our military, but for the United States, our nation, and across the world.”

As part of the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress called for changes in the Military Health System. These changes redefine the roles of DHA and the military departments, specifically addressing the administration and management of military hospitals and clinics.

On Oct. 1, BAMC will transition under DHA command and authority. Following the transition, DHA is responsible for healthcare delivery and business operations across the MHS, and will provide guidance in all matters related to budget, information technology, health care administration and management; administrative policies and procedures; and military medical construction.

For patients, this transition should be transparent. Their physicians and coverage will remain the same, but it will standardize how patients access care and make appointments no matter their location or service.

The intent is to drive better integration and standardization of care by creating an enterprise-wide medical delivery system that integrates readiness and health.

During the town hall, Bono discussed the importance of consistent care across the services. It doesn’t matter what uniform you wear as a provider or as a patient when it comes to patient care, she said. “We need to be a lot smarter about how we are using all of our resources” across our regions and military medicine.

Bono stressed the importance of feedback from across the services to help shape the future of military medicine.

“Take a moment to see how you can contribute,” Bono said. “You can help inform and design what our healthcare system needs to look like going forward. This is very doable, and it’s only doable if we all work collectively with each other to make this happen.”

Above all, Bono encouraged everyone to remain focused on patient care.

“Keep your eyes on the patients,” she said. “I need you to take care of our patients in the very best way. Let’s continue to lead and show others how healthcare should and can be designed to best meet the needs of our patients.”

BAMC remains committed to providing the same level of patient care as it has for the past 140 years, the BAMC commanding general said.

“Our commitment remains on providing the highest quality of care for our patients while ensuring the medical readiness of our warfighters,” said Army Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller.

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