GAO: DoD Failing to Properly Assess, Deploy Military Medical Personnel

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The Government Accountability Office has released a report highlighting the Defense Department’s failure to properly assess and assign its over 241,000 medical personnel to military treatment facilities, which led to workforce challenges and poor patient care.

The GAO said Tuesday that five of six military hospitals have been struggling to treat the growing number of patients due to civilian hiring freezes and lengthy hiring and contracting processes.  

The watchdog report attributed the challenges to the DoD’s decision to not include the use of all of its medical personnel or the full cost of their deployment in planning for operational medical personnel requirements. 

The GAO added the Pentagon also failed to properly balance active and reserve component medical personnel in their deployment to MTFs.

The study on the DoD’s healthcare efforts comes as directed by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
The GAO recommended that the Defense Health Agency develop a strategic workforce plan to address the challenges; assess the suitability of federal civilians and contractors to provide operational medical care; and provide a full cost information for active and reserve component medical personnel. 

The DHA will soon assume control of DoD hospitals and clinics. 

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