KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hagel Orders Review Of Military Health System After 2 Deaths

The order follows the dismissal of the commander of one of the military's busiest hospitals for active-duty personnel in Fort Bragg, N.C., after two young men died unexpectedly and amid furor over the care provided to veterans in the system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The New York Times: Army Ousts Commander Of Hospital After Deaths
The Army ousted the commander of one of its busiest hospitals and suspended three top deputies on Tuesday after two patients in their 20s who had visited the hospital's emergency room died unexpectedly in the previous 10 days. The shake-up at the hospital, Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, N.C., came at a moment of heightened sensitivity about health care in the military community, stirred by the furor over treatment delays in the separate medical system serving the nation's veterans. Late Tuesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a broad review to ensure that military patients — many of them active-duty service members and their families — are not facing similar problems (LaFraniere, 5/27).

The Washington Post: Hagel Orders Review Of Pentagon Health-Care Facilities
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday announced a sweeping review of the Pentagon’s health-care facilities born out of concern that it could be suffering from strains similar to those afflicting the Department of Veterans Affairs system. Officials said the review, which they expect to take 90 days, was not triggered by the type of lapses and whistleblower allegations that have thrust several VA hospitals around the country into a politically charged scandal (Londoño, 5/27). 

The Wall Street Journal: Hagel Orders Review of Military Health Care
Mr. Hagel planned to meet Wednesday morning with his top deputy and military leaders to discuss the 90-day review, a senior officer said. The announcement came hours after the Army removed the head of one of its busiest hospitals where two patients unexpectedly died after visits to the emergency room in recent days, military officials said (Nissenbaum, 5/27).

NBC News: Hagel Orders Review Of Military Health System 
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday ordered a 90-day comprehensive review of the military health system in the wake of allegations that Veterans Affairs hospitals falsified data about how quickly veterans were being treated. The Pentagon said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant defense secretary for health affairs, would lead the review, focusing on access to health care and quality of that care (Aegerter, 5/28).

The Associated Press:  Hagel Orders Review Of Military Health System
[The review] will assess the quality of the health care at military treatment facilities as well as the care the department buys from civilian providers. The system provides care for more than 9.6 million active duty personnel, retirees and eligible family members (Baldor, 5/27).

Reuters:  Pentagon Chief Orders Medical Care Review Amid Problems At Hospital
Rear Admiral John Kirby, the top Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement the review would examine "whether current access to care meets the department's standards" as well as "the safety and quality of care provided to all Department of Defense beneficiaries" (Alexander, 5/28).

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