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Puget Sound Military Health System Certified by Defense Health Agency

Photo of a shuttle bus One of the more visible – and certainly mobile – examples of the Puget Sound Military Health System collaborative joint effort is the patient shuttle between Madigan Army Medical Center and Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton. (U.S. Navy photo by Douglas H. Stutz)

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The Puget Sound Military Health System (MHS) has become the latest to certify as a MHS market. This marks the next step in a long history of collaboration with staff at Army, Navy and Air Force military medical treatment facilities (MTF) in the Pacific Northwest.

A market is a group of MTFs in one geographic area working together with its TRICARE partners, Veterans Affairs hospitals, other federal health care organizations, private sector teaching hospitals and medical universities, and other health care partners. MTF is the broad term to include medical centers, hospitals and ambulatory care clinics, including dental clinics.

"Congratulations to the many people within the Puget Sound MHS who made this happen," said acting Market Director for Puget Sound MHS, Army Col. Scottie B. Roofe. "Our history of collaboration across services and with the MTFs across the Puget Sound area to ensure the highest quality, safest patient care, helped us achieve this important milestone and will ultimately benefit our service members' health and readiness and the care of their families."

The Puget Sound market leaders are now responsible for managing all health care for its military population within Western Washington. It will operate as a system, sharing patients, staff, budgets and other functions to improve readiness and the delivery and coordination of health services.

Working together is not new for the Puget Sound MHS, which includes Madigan Army Medical Center, Naval Hospital Bremerton, Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor and the Air Force's 62nd Medical Squadron.

PSMHS already oversees the Puget Sound Military Appointment Center, a patient shuttle between Naval Hospital Bremerton and Madigan Army Medical Center, and is where the DODs electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, was piloted and launched.

More recently, its population health work group, comprised of representatives from each MTF, was recognized for developing best practices for patient outreach and education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is one of many work groups collaborating to identify and implement best practices, standardize and integrate care at the Puget Sound MTFs.

By standardizing care and administrative and management functions within MTFs in the market, the DOD seeks to ensure the readiness of medical personnel and create a more medically ready force by providing safe, high-quality health care to service members and their families.

Why this change is occurring

In accordance with the decision made by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the Military Health System is transitioning administration and management of all military hospitals and clinics from the military departments to the Defense Health Agency (DHA).

To do this effectively, the DHA chose a "market approach," based on the six enhanced Multi-Service Markets already in place, including the Puget Sound MHS.

"This is why we standardize and integrate our health services - to improve the care we provide, and to be prepared to provide it in combat," said Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, DHA director. "As our beneficiaries seek care throughout this community, they'll see more and more common processes, a common health record and a simplified means to access care; whether that's in a military or civilian setting."

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