Report | Sept. 30, 2020

Evaluation of Department of Defense Medical Treatment Facility Challenges During the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic (DODIG-2020-133)

Evaluation

Publicly Released: October 2, 2020

 

Objective

The objective of this evaluation was to determine challenges and needs encountered by personnel working at DoD Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) while responding to the coronavirus disease–2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Background

By December 2019, a novel infectious disease was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The respiratory illness associated with this novel infectious disease was later identified as the novel COVID-19. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States issued a Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak. On March 27, 2020, the President issued an Executive Order mobilizing reserve and active duty forces to respond to the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of July 2020, COVID-19 cases were detected in most countries worldwide.

The COVID-19 outbreak was detected in the United States in late January and early February 2020. As of July 20, 2020, the CDC reported that the United States had upwards of 3.7 million cases and over 140,000 deaths, with new cases each day. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Report issued in April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused nationwide challenges in civilian hospitals, including severe shortages of COVID-19 testing supplies, widespread shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), the inability to maintain hospital staffing levels, medical supply shortages, and changing and inconsistent COVID-19 guidance from Federal, State, and local authorities.

This report provides DoD and other decision makers, such as the Defense Health Agency and the Service Medical Commands, information to address the MTFs’ challenges and needs, where possible. We recognize that the DoD and the MTFs are in a unique and ever-changing situation, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this special report highlights the challenges and needs shared by representatives

This report is the result of Proj. No. D2020-DEV0PB-0136.000