Inspector General Robert P. Storch announced today that the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General released the “Management Advisory: Concerns with Access to Care and Staffing Shortages in the Military Health System.” The advisory highlighted issues with access to health care for Military Health System beneficiaries, DoD civilians and contractors overseas, and access to mental health care.
This advisory is based on information provided by the Service Inspectors General and Audit Agencies, previously published DoD OIG reports, and information obtained by the DoD OIG through hotline complaints and other sources. The DoD OIG did not independently verify the information provided by the Services.
“The advisory alerts Military Health System stakeholders about ongoing accessibility issues for beneficiaries, DoD civilians, and contractors,” said IG Storch. “I want to express my appreciation to our colleagues at the Service Offices of Inspector General and Audit Agencies for providing important information to us as we work together to bring to light these important issues impacting the DoD.”
The DoD OIG has recommended measures to address these health care accessibility issues. Specifically, that the Director of the Defense Health Agency identify the specialties and locations where the TRICARE provider network is not meeting DoD access to care standards, and develop and implement a plan to bring those provider networks into compliance. The DoD OIG also recommended that the Director of the Defense Health Agency, in coordination with the Service Surgeons General, conduct a survey of TRICARE beneficiaries and providers stationed overseas, as well as of providers and clinic administrators at overseas Military Treatment Facilities, and use the survey results to create plans to address beneficiary access to care issues.
In addition to this product, the DoD OIG is conducting an audit related to DoD Health Care Personnel Shortages during the COVID-19 Pandemic that will further inform some of the identified issues related to access to care. This ongoing audit will focus on and make recommendations to the DoD regarding issues discussed in the recently released Pandemic Response Accountability Committee’s Health Care Subgroup report, “Review of Personnel Shortages in Federal Health Care Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”