WASHINGTON – The Defense Department’s health care budget request for fiscal year 2017 fully aligns with DoD’s global commitments and strategic objectives, the Defense Health Agency director said in a House budget panel hearing today.
Navy Vice Adm. (Dr.) Raquel C. Bono, appearing with the services’ surgeons general, outlined the military health care system’s priorities for 2017 before the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.
DHA is an integrated Army, Navy and Air Force combat support agency that brings together a medically ready force and ready medical force for combatant commands during peacetime and wartime. It also supports integrated, affordable and high-quality health care services to military beneficiaries, according to its website.
Bono pointed out that DoD’s $33.5 billion request for its fiscal 2017 defense health program is a 1.5 percent increase compared to fiscal 2016.
78 Percent of Budget Supports Patient Care
“Almost $25 billion — or 78 percent of our [budget] request — directly supports patient care,” in both military treatment facilities and in the private sector, she added.
Congress also has granted carryover authority each year beyond budget boundaries, which has provided “much-needed flexibility to manage issues that have emerged,” Bono said. The carryover has helped DoD funding avoid disruption of health care services to its beneficiaries, she said, adding the authority has become “extremely important” to DoD and asking that it be continued in fiscal 2017.
2015 Health Care Goals
Bono said her primary goals as DHA director include providing more value-added support to enable service members to carry out missions, developing DHA’s combat support agency capabilities, and optimizing the agency’s internal operations.
This includes putting in place a “common-cost accounting methodology” for better accountability and transparency to DoD, the services, Congress and the public, she said.