San Diego

San Diego Patients to See Reform in Military Health System

More than 300,000 local military health system patients will benefit from reforms starting in 2020 when the Defense Health Agency (DHA) takes over two San Diego hospitals. 

What used to be three divided health care systems -- Army Medicine, Navy Medicine and Air Force Medicine -- will be combined under the management of the DHA starting on Oct. 1, 2020, with the goal to streamline patient care.

"We’re really trying to drive towards more standardization and a more consistent experience of care for our patients," DHA Director Vice Adm. Raquel Bono said. 

DHA found the three health care systems would make similar decisions that were not interchangeable and create more work for patients.  

"When we looked at it from the patient’s perspective what they see is they have to use a different process to make an appointment at one facility and then use a different process for the same type of care at another facility," Bono explained. 

The new streamlined process under DHA will also make it easier for patients to transfer care to the civilian world or to other parts of the country, the agency said. 

"What we’re accomplishing is a standardization of the appointment process, a standardization of how people get their specialty referrals and then also it’ll allow us to aggregate some of our business processes and get a little more efficient."

While not in San Diego yet, the agency said they will soon implement MHS Genesis, an electronic medical record that is more secure and more effectively communicates information between offices. MHS Genesis is also the same system the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses, creating an easier transition for patients from DHA and VA. 

between naval base san diego and all of our other local bases, there are about 300- thousand active duty, retired military and family members who receive care through the military health system.

Bono said the changes are part of congress' direction to reform and streamline care for active duty servicemembers and veterans.

"They shouldn't see any change except for something that's better for them."

DHA was established in 2013 at the recommendation of a Department of Defense task force and serves about 9.5 million people across the country and 300,000 in San Diego. 

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