TRICARE Out, New Defense Health Agency In

March 2, 2012

The Defense Department sent a report to Congress today detailing how the Pentagon plans to integrate health care operations. The plan falls short of 2006 recommendations by the Defense Business Board to eliminate Army, Navy and Air Force medical commands and establish a unified medical command.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in today's report that the Pentagon plans to do away with the TRICARE Management Activity -- which, among other things, oversees the military health insurance plan -- and fold its functions into a new Defense Health Agency. That agency will assume responsibility for common clinical and business processes across the Military Health System, such as medical education for physicians, nurses, medics, pharmacists, medical logistics and health information technology.

The new Defense Health Agency will be run by a three-star general or admiral -- the same rank as the three services' surgeons general and a two-grade bump from the one-star rank of the current TRICARE director, Army Brig. Gen. Bryan Gamble. 

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