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Medical leaders visit Dover AFB ahead of DHA transition

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ashleigh Peck

Military Health System leaders visited Dover Air Force Base May 3, 2019, to better understand the unique mission sets of the base and the needs of beneficiaries served by the 436th Medical Group prior to its transition to Defense Health Agency management this fall.

The U.S. Air Force began transitioning military treatment facilities to be structured under the DHA in October 2018. Air Force hospital and clinics that have successfully transitioned under the DHA’s direct management thus far include the 43rd Medical Squadron at Pope Field, North Carolina; the 81st Medical Group at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi; the 628th Medical Group at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina; and the 4th Medical Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The transition results from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, to gain efficiencies and provide a more consistent experience of care to patients.

The 436th Medical Group is scheduled to transition by October 1, 2019.

“The transition to DHA management for beneficiaries of the 436th Medical Group should be transparent to our patients,” said Col. Patricia Fowler, 436th MDG commander. “Through this transition, the mission for our medical professionals will remain the same: support the warfighter, care for our warfighter families, and care for the patient.”

The visit allowed senior medical leaders, including Thomas McCaffery, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General; and Chief Master Sgt. George Cum, Air Force Surgeon General Medical Enlisted Force Chief and Enlisted Corps Chief, an opportunity to discuss the administrative shift with Team Dover medical leaders and Airmen. The one-on-one time afforded the Military Health System leaders a chance to develop a better understanding of the medical services the 436th MDG provides, as well as the strengths and challenges of delivering high-quality healthcare in the Dover area. The senior visitors also received orientations of the medical group facilities, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations and Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.

“Each visit helps me understand your challenges, motivations, frustrations and, most importantly, it helps me understand how the challenging decisions we are making today impact how you support the operational mission and putting forth medically ready warfighters,” said Hogg.

By October 2021, all military treatment facilities, to include overseas facilities, are scheduled to transition to DHA management. The intent of the transition is to create a single, integrated military health system designed around delivering healthcare and ensuring military medical readiness for years to come.