New TRICARE Laws and Contracts to Drive “Historic” Reforms

Military health care is eight months from rolling out “historic” reforms to improve patient access and quality of care; to streamline health operations across Army, Navy and Air Force; and to better integrate that direct care system with networks of private-sector providers supporting TRICARE insurance beneficiaries, said Vice Admiral Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA). DHA is responsible for implementing the changes while following through on many previous reforms set in motion for modernizing the military health care system.

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Avalanche of Enacted TRICARE Changes Poses Challenges

The National Defense Authorization Act recently signed into law orders an avalanche of changes to the TRICARE health care benefit used by service members, retirees, and their families. It also makes sweeping reforms to how the military direct-care system is organized and operates. The authorization act contains “a remarkable series of provisions that set forth some challenges and provides us with new authorities that we’re greatly looking forward to” said the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

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Coming TRICARE Changes That May Affect You

Some changes are coming over the next few years that will affect roughly 1.5 million retired military and survivor beneficiaries who get their health care under TRICARE Standard.  

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Defense Authorization Bill Covers Many Military/Veteran Health Care Services

There are hundreds of provisions in the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Authorization Act, including dozens to modernize military health care and streamline TRICARE.  On health care, Congress relied on the work of the Military Retirement and Compensation Commission, and also on best practices from the health care industry.  Included among many reforms is greater use of telehealth technology and encouragement of partnerships between the military and top-rated private sector medical providers.

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Director of Defense Health Agency’s Goal is to Support All Services’ Medical Components

In a recent forum, Navy Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), emphasized that supporting the services is one of her top priorities.  Part of that support is demonstrated in ongoing reforms throughout the Military Health System that the DHA is helping to make a reality.  Changes in managing TRICARE worldwide and the implementation of a new, modernized and interoperable electronic health record (MHS GENESIS) are some of the ways DHA is streamlining operations: 

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Government Accountability Office Upholds TRICARE Contract Awards

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has upheld Defense Health Agency contract awards to Humana Government Business, Inc. to provide managed care support in TRICARE’s East Region,  and to Health Net Federal Services LLC in the West Region.  The contracts incorporate new best practices to improve access, quality and safety for the health care needs of military service members, retirees and their families.

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TRICARE Publications Redesigned

TRICARE recently unveiled the redesign of its publications regarding benefits, bringing a new look and a fresh approach to the materials that explain TRICARE coverage.  Features include a breakdown of TRICARE’s program options  –  details relevant to active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, family members and survivors. The new educational materials provide the information that patients and family members need to make health care decisions.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2dAn5oq 

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Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Authorization Bill

The House and Senate Armed Services committees are well into serious negotiations to resolve a wide array of differences between their respective versions of the FY17 Defense Authorization Bill.  Some of the key issues involve the Military Health System and potential TRICARE fee hikes.

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New Regional TRICARE Contracts

New regional TRICARE contracts were recently awarded for future management of the TRICARE Eastern and Western regions.  Improvements in delivery, quality and cost of healthcare for military personnel and veterans is anticipated.  However, several companies not awarded the contracts are protesting, seeking changes by the Government Accounting Office (GAO).

Read more: http://bit.ly/2bluf1W and http://bit.ly/2bsPzQU

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TRICARE Patients and Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that help find ways to prevent, diagnose or treat illnesses and improve health care.  TRICARE covers participation in National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored studies for all beneficiaries who are selected to participate.

Read More: http://1.usa.gov/22YzLsQ

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