Back to Top Skip to main content

DHA priorities focused on readiness, patients, outcomes

Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place speaks at a podium. Looking forward into his second year as director of the Defense Health Agency Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place continued to emphasize his four priorities for the Military Health System: great outcomes, a ready medical force, satisfied patients, and fulfilled staff. (Courtesy photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Access to Health Care | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

When Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place visits military hospitals and clinics and conducts town halls with staff, he introduces himself not only as the director of the Defense Health Agency, but also as an Army surgeon, a son, husband, father, and grandfather. For Place, all his roles influence his decisions.

Place admits it was easy to get lost in his role as a surgeon back when he began his residency training. “Yet I would still go home as a military spouse, or I would go home to my military children,” he recalled. “I would wonder, ‘What did I do today to make the system better for my spouse?’ or ‘What did I do today to make the system better for my kids? And often the answer to that, at least for me personally when I was a junior officer, was nothing.”

Today as the director of the DHA, Place is responsible for all the activities that happen in the DHA, most of which impact the 9.6 million eligible TRICARE beneficiaries who depend on the MHS for their health care. “I like everybody to consider all of their roles when they make decisions,” he said. “To me, it's a reminder from a decision-making perspective, who are we? And why are we there as a part of the Military Health System?”

As an integrated system of health and readiness, the MHS is a complex matrix of people and priorities with a unique role supporting the National Defense Strategy, said Place. “Much of what we do to measure ourselves, our productivity, and the quality of the work that we do [is] based on civilian standards and benchmarks,” he said. “Yet we're a Military Health System, and some of the things that are required for that balance between health and readiness don't earn productivity points in the same way they would in a civilian system.”

Place said the MHS isn’t where it needs to be in terms of defining the elements of readiness -- troops being medically ready and health care teams being proficient to perform their wartime missions -- or how the MHS measures productivity and quality in relation to readiness.

While the task at hand seems great, Place sees promise in the staff inside the DHA headquarters and at the military medical treatment facilities. “I see excellence. I see passion. I see dedication. I see desire for improvements in our system.”

Place has seen that passion showcased during the national emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through excellence, ingenuity and agility, health care providers continue to find ways to adapt how they deliver care without degrading the quality of care patients receive. Place cited the CAMIC invention and rethinking therapeutics such as the use of convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19 patients as examples of how passion and innovation have come together to create solutions that may have applications for years to come.

Place sees process standardization as a key to improvement. “Across the entire Military Health System, there are literally thousands of things that could be standardized to improve our system,” he said. It won’t be easy because there’s a lot of fear associated with change, he added.

But Place believes the DHA is primed for the challenge. “With the talent and passion and commitment of the entire team, at headquarters and at our health care delivery sites, I’m confident we can do it, but it's going to take a significant effort and it's going to take us some time,” he said.

Asked about his short-term goals, Place said he hopes to be able to cite examples of how standardization has improved the system. “That improvement might be quality of care or clinical outcomes for our patients; it may be the overall satisfaction of our patients,” he said. “I also hope we've done something to improve the system so that the staff, whether it's across the entire organization or even particular functional communities, have more joy in the work that they do and more fulfillment in their missions.”

You also may be interested in...

Secretary of Defense Video to the Force on COVID-19 Vaccinations

Video
2/24/2021
Image of soldier looking through COVID vaccine information laid out on a table

The Secretary of Defense addressed the entire workforce to encourage informed decision-making with regards to coronavirus-19 vaccination.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Trained military personnel ready to help with COVID-19 vaccinations

Article
2/23/2021
Military health personnel wearing a mask giving the COVID-19 vaccine to a man who is also wearing a face mask

Military prepped and ready to help with civilian COVID-19 mass vaccinations

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Immunizations

DOD participates in new COVID-19 antibody combination prevention trial

Article
2/23/2021
Woman gets blood drawn

Five DoD sites across the United States will be part of the STORM CHASER trial, a study to observe the efficacy of a long-lasting antibody product to prevent COVID-19 among people who have been exposed to others suffering from the disease.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Training for a healthy heart can improve overall health

Article
2/22/2021
Military personnel wearing a mask exercising in the gym

Service members must be heart healthy to perform optimally throughout their military careers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Physical Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health

Army hospital powers through record-breaking winter storms

Article
2/22/2021
A military medical center covered in snow

BAMC comes away from major winter storm unscathed.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Drawing blood, giving back life: techs support medical readiness

Article
2/22/2021
Military health personnel wearing a mask drawing blood from military personnel wearing a mask

Two of the military’s blood technicians say their work is vital and rewarding.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Combat Support

Order of Military Medical Merit presented to USU medical student

Article
2/19/2021
Military personnel receiving the Order of Military Merit

Army 2nd becomes the first USU medical student to receive the Order of the Military Medical Merit.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

Marines, Sailors with PHIBRON 11, 31st MEU receive COVID-19 vaccine

Article
2/19/2021
Military health personnel giving the COVID-19 Vaccine to military personnel

Vaccination for service members is voluntary, as vaccines are currently authorized for emergency use.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

USU cohort study investigates COVID-19 impacts on DOD personnel

Article
2/18/2021
Military health personnel wearing a mask and a face shield holding up a sign that has the number eighteen on it

USU is conducting a study to better understand the symptoms and course of COVID-19 disease and identify risk factors in the military population.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Immunizations | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

Improving health outcomes, readiness is aim of new grant funding

Article
2/18/2021
Military health personnel wearing a mask giving a shot to a patient

DHA offers funding grants for high-value research that supports better care, better health, and increased readiness, with lower costs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

VCE examines low vision with detection and care

Article
2/18/2021
military health personnel wearing a mask and performing an eye exam

Dr. David Eliason, of the Vision Center of Excellence, says low vision awareness is about prevention, detection, and continuing treatment.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Health Tools | Medical Research and Development | Vision Loss

DOD initiatives address the sexual health of our military

Article
2/17/2021
Image of a bacterium

STIs are important to identify and treat because they can impact service members’ health and readiness, as well as their ability to perform their duties.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Health Readiness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Men's Health | Women's Health

COVID-19, Influenza provide twice the challenge to healthcare workers

Article
2/17/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask while holding hand sanitizer

The ongoing pandemic outbreak has overlapped with the annual Northern Hemisphere influenza season.

Recommended Content:

Influenza Vaccine Availability | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 vaccine does not affect fertility, immunization experts say

Article
2/16/2021
Black and white photo of a couple holding hands

COVID-19 vaccination when pregnant or breastfeeding shows no harm, immunologists weigh in.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Proactive communication remains paramount during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
2/16/2021
Two military personnel with mask on talking, while one is writing on a notepad

Open, honest and repetitive communication remains paramount during current pandemic.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Considerations | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 67

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.