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There are currently 9.7 million eligible beneficiaries who depend on the Military Health Services (MHS) which provides medical benefits to active and past service members, their families, and their dependent survivors. Due to the growing cost of medical coverage, increasing number of beneficiaries, and more services being covered, the cost of the MHS for Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) has ballooned to $48.7 billion. This is compared to the $19 billion dollar budget in Fiscal Year 2001 (FY01), and the budget is projected to soar to $95 billion by 2030. To effectively manage the system, the Department of Defense (DOD) is looking for Contractor support for oversight and management for the creation of the new Defense Health Agency (DHA), note brief from last year here.

AUSN recently received updated information from the Veteran Service Organization (VSO) community regarding the creation of this new agency.The Defense Health Agency (DHA) will be a newly reorganized agency pulling from previous sections of MHS and other DOD posts to oversee both the creation and eventual running of DHA.  This transition shall reorganize the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), create a new 3-star managed DHA, reconfigure the management of five of the MHS’ largest multi-Service markets, transition the Joint Task Force on Capital Medicine to a Directorate in the DHA, and stand-down the TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) as the DHA is implemented.

The transition phase is going to be a large project in itself, with a comprehensive management team to oversee the transition. The Program Management Office is tasked with leading the oversight and management of these transitions as well as the record keeping of the process. The Transition Team itself will consist of program management, human resource management, organizational design, change management and strategic communications, and business case analysis.

The transition process itself will be organized into three parts. First, the size of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) is increasing from 43 full time employees (FTE’s) to 128 FTE’s. This will allow more precise focus on policy and fiscal responsibility to streamline the decision making process of the office. Second, the DHA shall have a new headquarters as well in order to absorb the responsibilities or whole tasks of current offices such as the TRICARE Management Activity (TMA). This will allow for the mission goal of a shared service model for the DHA to assist in functions such as TRICARE health plans and Pharmacy programs. Finally, Enhanced Multi Service Markets have been set up to market in five defined areas around the country. These areas are: San Antonio, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; Puget Sound, WA; Tidewater, VA; and the state of Hawaii.

Enhanced Multi Service Markets represents a change in strategy that increases both the authorities and accountabilities of the designated market managers. The Enhanced Market Managers are responsible for developing a comprehensive 5-year business plan that meets defined performance goals supported in the MHS strategic plan.

The Department of Defense is currently sending out briefs of these planned transitions to small businesses on the GSA MOBIS Schedule to gauge their ability to assist in management and oversight in the transitions. AUSN will continue to monitor and share developments on the creation of this new agency, ensuring that this transition occurs smoothly and that DOD takes the utmost consideration of TRICARE beneficiaries in the creation of DHA.

Please continue to contact your Representatives and Senators and voice your concerns by using our Contact Congress feature and help get the word out.  This is an ALL HANDS ON DECK effort and your grassroots advocacy will help make the changes that need to happen!

Posted in: Capitol Hill Blog

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