Maj. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Transitional Intermediate Management Organization and the National Capital Region Medical Directorate at the Defense Health Agency, discusses the efforts to consolidate military hospital facilities under DHA, and the timeline of how it will happen.
In October, the Defense Health Agency will begin assuming control of every military medical treatment facility, moving them away from the individual services that managed them in the past. The Transitional Intermediate Management Organization oversees migrating the first five hospitals over to DHA. After the first five are moved in October, DHA hopes to have every military hospital facility under the agency 12 months after. Maj. Gen. Ronald Place, TIMO director and director of the National Capital Region Medical Directorate at DHA, says that the timeline is progressing well. “In the last 18 months or so, [there’s been] extraordinary amounts of planning by the Defense Health Agency and the Service Medical Departments to enable the success of the initial transformation starting on the first of October. And the first phase is a relatively modest transition of medical treatment facilities to make sure that we really do have the mechanisms right,” said Place. “After that has been shown that, yes indeed we do know what we are doing, whatever small clanks or issues that we have found and those are fixed, then the second and third transitions will start and we’ll finish the transformation.” Place said that medical leadership at the services is very supportive of DHA’s efforts, because they are all working towards the same goal. “The biggest challenge we thought we would face would be that the Army leaders love Army medicine and the Navy leaders love Navy medicine… but the fact of the matter is, based on our deployability we’ve all interacted with other services. Whether it’s service line interacting with a different unit’s medical, the outcomes were all great. We thought it was going to be a challenge. As it turns out, it’s not,” said Place. “As long as what we are offering to our line brothers and sisters is high quality healthcare both here in the United States and in a deployable situation, that’s what they want. In fact, they’re embracing it because of that.” The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 required this change in the hierarchy, and requires them to report to Congress. Place told Government Matters that this relationship with Congress is beneficial, and that DHA receives regular support and guidance from Congress as they make the transition. “They’re interested in helping us be the best military health system that we could potentially be,” Place said.