February Message from the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

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(PDF version of what is below)

MHS Team:

Earlier this month, in a memo to all DoD employees, Acting SECDEF Shanahan
emphasized his direction to hold the line, strive for excellence in daily
tasks, build efficiencies across our teams, and keep us lethal and ready. He
reaffirmed the Department’s focus on the National Defense Strategy’s three
lines of effort to restore readiness, strengthen alliances and partnerships,
and drive business reforms. These priorities remain at the forefront of the
Military Health System’s efforts for 2019.

Your work continues to yield dividends on the quality of care our 9.5
million beneficiaries receive. Last month, the American College of Surgeons
(ACS) presented Meritorious Awards to four military treatment facilities
representing the top 10 percent of ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement
Program (NSQIP) hospitals worldwide providing exceptional surgical care
quality. The David Grant Medical Center (for the third year in a row),
Darnall Army Medical Center, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, and Naval Medical
Center Portsmouth earned this impressive distinction-a testament to MHS
staff committed to meet the gold standard for quality and foster a culture
of improvement. Our individual staff recognitions are also making news. Just
a few weeks ago, Navy Medicine West named HM1 Beatrix Solorio from Naval
Health Clinic Hawaii and HM1 Amy Bohrer from OHSU Bremerton as the regional
2018 Senior Sailor and Reserve Senior Sailor of the Year, respectively-an
extraordinary achievement reflecting both their individual outstanding
performance and the ambitious culture driven by their immediate leadership.

I’m always proud-but not surprised-to see the MHS’s accomplishments and your
dedicated work to build on our culture of excellence as we roll out the MHS
priority areas to enhance readiness, continue implementation of the
transition of MTFs to the DHA, advance Global Health Engagement goals, and
deploy the MHS GENESIS electronic health record.

On the readiness front, USUHS received a $15 million grant from the DHA to
fund a new, four-year program to provide rehabilitative care for Service
members with musculoskeletal injuries. This Collaboratory for
Musculoskeletal Injury Rehabilitation Research (CMIRR) program will enhance
overall military readiness by supporting the estimated 800,000 Service
members affected by musculoskeletal injury each year-injuries resulting in
25 million days of limited duty and 34 percent of medical evacuations from
the battlefield.

At last week’s Healthcare Information and Management System Society (HIMSS)
Annual Conference, MHS leaders joined the 40,000 health IT professionals,
clinicians, executives, and vendors from around the world to share
information on the current status of the deployment of MHS GENESIS as part
of a concerted push towards standardization, integration, and readiness. As
we gear up to deploy the new EHR at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Travis Air
Force Base, Army Medical Health Clinic Presidio, and Mountain Home Air Force
Base, the lessons learned from medical providers and test and evaluation
feedback in the earlier IOC sites will make this next round of
implementation even stronger. And with significant efficiencies to be gained
from MHS GENESIS in areas like referrals, wait times, patient access, and
prescription filling processes, applying IOC best practices will be
critical, translating to better training for new users, more subject matter
experts to assist workforce transition, and a more strategic change
management process.

We face a complex set of organizational changes this year to deliver on our
readiness, healthcare delivery, and reform priorities. I look forward to
hearing more updates on MHS progress towards our priority areas and to
supporting your work to take our organization to the next level.
Tom

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