Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Army SG Appears on the Hill

Lieutenant General Patricia D. Horoho, Surgeon General of the Army and Commander of the Army Medical Command, appeared March 21, 2012 before the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Personnel to give some insight into Defense Health Programs.

Lt. Gen Horoho discussed some of the Army’s major programs such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), and Community-Based Medical Homes, but also how the Army is providing care for returning soldiers and veterans with TBI, and for soldiers with behavioral health issues.

The Army’s 2011 investment in patient-centered care is $50 million and the Army is in the process of transforming all of its 157 primary care practices to PCMH practices. It is expected that all Army primary care clinics will be transformed to Army Medical Homes by FY 2015 and should increase the capacity within Army military treatment facilities for over 200,000 beneficiaries by FY 2016.

The Army has also established Community Based Medical Homes (CBMH) operating clinics in leased facilities located in off-post communities closer to beneficiaries. Currently, the Army has approval to open 21 clinics and is actively enrolling beneficiaries at 13 facilities.

Today the Army is faced with the growing problem in treating concussion care. To meet the urgent need to address TBI, the Army relies on the Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) TBI Research Program. Today, there are almost 350 studies funded by DOD to look at all aspects of TBI.

One of the problems in studying TBI is that so far the TBI studies lack objective diagnostic tools. MRMC is going forward with research on diagnostic biomarkers and other definitive assessment tools in order to better identify and manage these injuries.

The Army is partnering with the VA, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, academia, civilian hospitals, and the National football League to improve the ability to diagnose, treat, and care for those affected by TBI.

To further help soldiers with behavioral health and emotional resiliency issues, the Comprehensive Behavioral Health System of Care (CBHSOC) was created. The Army’s goal is to develop an integrated coordinated and synchronized behavioral health service delivery system.

The long term goal for the CBHSOC is to restore the psychological health of soldiers and families to prevent adverse psychological and social outcomes like violence, drinking and driving, and suicide.
The Army wants to make the CBHSOC effective and is working to develop a common behavioral health data system, further develop and implement surveillance and data tracing capabilities, coordinate behavioral health clinical efforts, provide for telebehavioral health activities, and study pain management.