Access to Healthcare in Military Health System

The Military Health System is a well functioning organization that is instrumental in healthcare activities to U.S. Military personnel retired or active, and it works under the United States Department of Defense. It also provides healthcare for the dependents of the personnel. (Best, 2005) It is reported that there is a budget of $39.4 billion in 2007 with beneficiaries amounting to 9.1 million and sited at more than 1000 locations. (Defense Health Board, 2007) There are also seven care support contracts instrumental under the parameters of TRICARE. (USGAO, 1995) TRICARE can be enumerated as the service centers that are responsible for providing healthcare for Reserve members, National Guards, service members, along with their spouses, survivors, families, and retirees. (Military Health System Skyline, 2008).

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However, with such well-formulated establishments, it is difficult to imagine the difficulties service personnel can face to receive benefits in terms of healthcare. It is a curious note to learn that even with such varied and established facilities, the Military health system lacks a proper communication system that could address the needs of the beneficiaries and allow them access to these facilities. (Cowen & Moorhead, 2006) At present, there is no proper addressing system that could convey to the personnel about the whereabouts of the facilities and establishments. There are no proper services of advising board, provider referral services, provider appointments, 24-hour telephone triage, or telehealth service. Similarly, the establishment lacks any kind of proper literature for the healthcare-seeking personnel. Thus, it can be stated that getting access to healthcare in a Military health system is no less than combat for these people. (Tanielian, 2003).

On the other hand, the health policy affects us Americans because of the fact that if we do not have health insurance, we still have to go to the doctor every once in a while, but we hold off as long as we can until it is too late. Then, we might have to go to the emergency room, and they charge so much just for entering the emergency room, and then they charge us to be treated, and when the doctors release us, we have a bill of $700.00 or more. For those people without any kind of health coverage, their health care services are limited because they know that they will not be able to afford a full diagnosis because the cost of health care rises every year. In fact, most people that are uninsured delay seeking health care until an emergency.

Another important issue in this context is the rising problems of the health care premiums in parameters of medical benefits are the matter of spending related to national health care. It has been reported that at the current rate, the spending would cover the $5 trillion mark by 2015. As it is, the total expenditure of the U.S. on health insurance premiums is about four times the expenditure of the defense mechanism. But even then, the entire amount of U.S. citizens is unable to be covered under the health insurance policy schemes. It has been reported that about 50 million individuals are beyond the parameters of the health policies. This is a serious problem as the nation is already spending more than any other nation in the world on health care premiums. Thus to bridge this gap, it is necessary for the policymakers to intervene in the issue and solve the problem by asserting and negotiating the insurance companies to render for these uncovered individuals with easy plans of premium structures. (Tanielian, 2007).

It is a curious note to imagine a situation where the government is spending a huge amount on healthcare but failing to make it accessible to the people for whom it was meant to be in the first place. The service members know that there are facilities available for them and their families, but there is very little information about the details of the facilities. Even if there is information, it is extremely difficult to avail those facilities just because the communication system of the government is not up to the mark of a professional outfit. (DIANE, 2007).

Additionally, it should also be seen that the basic problems of health insurance and its premium structures relating to fraud, wastage, inappropriate care, and poor management dealt in a professional manner with specialist personnel at convenient posts. This would ensure smooth transaction procedures and thus would save a good amount of time and cost, which would be used for lowering the premium cost and covering the individuals who are yet to be benefited. (Tanielian, 2007).

It could well be stated that there are a number of problems arising lately due to the unprecedented rise of health care premiums. It has been seen that recently people are reluctant to be covered due to high rates of premium, and it has also been established that the health insurance coverage is unable to negate the costs of health care. It was also found that about 255 of the U.S. citizens are badly affected by medical expenses to the point that their lifestyle had been changed due to that, and it is no secret that more than 80% of the clients of health insurance are extremely dissatisfied with the health care premiums and feels that government must address these issues. (Tanielian, 2007). Thus, for the moment, it is important to control the costs of health insurance premiums by means of budgetary controls of premium costs. The other method could have been a total price control, but that would be a very long-termed operation, and heath is a significantly urgent issue to be addressed and solved.

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However, from a personal parameter, I was quite satisfied with the TRICARE operations when I took my friend for an emergency operation. True, the application was fast enough, and the medical insurance claims and reimbursements were comparatively easy at the TRICARE. Nevertheless, the most difficult part was locating the institution, and such difficulties at the time of emergency really become a life-threatening problem. It’s a fortunate matter that one of my friends provided all the details of paperwork and development needed as he was admitted to the institution couple of years ago. Otherwise, it could have been real trouble for us. With such well-structured medical facilities available, it was needed that someone concentrated on the finer points.

To change the situation, it is extremely needed to implement measures that would enable the service members and their families to gain access to healthcare in a Military health system. One such measure can be 24-hour telephone triage or telehealth service where the service members would be conveyed of every detail and formalities needed for access to healthcare. Another such measure can be enumerated as provider appointments, which would set up a database of qualified personnel and guide them through the system with timely and proper facilities. (Byrd & Clayton, 2000) Another such communication system can be the provider referral services. This would instruct the beneficiary to reach the location or site that is most appropriate for the personnel. This would also be instrumental in proving and arranging the appointments for healthcare-related services.

It is a fact that the people in the service sector require more concentration on communication procedures. Otherwise, such multi-billion facilities, provided under budgetary control, would fail to meet the necessary level of efficiency. It should be remembered that people in the service sectors are already combating for the safeguards of the country, and they should not be a force to combat access to the healthcare in a Military health system that, in reality, is their right by itself. (Ellis & Hartley, 2004).

References

Best, Jr., Richard A; (2005); “Military Medical Care Services: Questions and Answers“; Congressional Research Service. Web.

Bonn, Keith E; 2002; Army Officer’s Guide; Cambridge University Press

Byrd, W. Michael & Clayton, Linda A; 2000; An American Health Dilemma; Routledge.

Cowen, Perle Slavik & Moorhead, Sue; 2006; Current Issues in Nursing; Mosby Elsevier.

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Defense Health Board; (2007); “Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care: Final Report“; United States Department of Defense. Web.

DIANE; 2007; Defense health care Medicare costs and other issues may affect uniformed services treatment facilities’ future; Report to the chairman and ranking minority member, Subcommittee on Defense, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate; DIANE Publishing

Ellis, Janice Rider & Hartley, Celia Love; 2004; Nursing in Today’s World: Trends, Issues & Management; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Hosek, Susan D & Cecchine, Gary; 2001; Reorganizing the Military Health System: Should There Be a Joint Command?; Rand Corporation, National Defense Research Institute (U.S.), United States Dept. of Defense. Office of the Secretary of Defense; Rand Corporation.

Military Health System Skyline; (2008); What is TRICARE; tricare.mil; Web.

Tanielian, Terri L; 2007; Impact of a Uniform Formulary on Military Health System Prescribers: Baseline Survey Results; Rand Corporation.

USGAO; (1995); “Defense Health Care: Despite TRICARE Procurement Improvements, Problems Remain“; United States General Accounting; Web.

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