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The US Military Health System (MHS) is a unique federal health care system with a critical mission: ensuring that America's military personnel are healthy; maintaining a ready medical force in support of operational forces around the world; and delivering a medical benefit to approximately 9.5 million beneficiaries. This article provides an overview of how the MHS relies upon the TRICARE program to deliver both direct care (delivered in military treatment facilities) and purchased care (delivered by network providers). The article also describes the history and evolution of the TRICARE program, presents information on the populations served and the volume and type of care rendered, and examines access and quality issues. Furthermore, it describes recent policy and operational changes that have influenced how the MHS delivers health care, placing these changes in the context of other challenges facing the US health care system.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Health affairs (Project Hope)
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Innovation and improvement of the health care system by reappraisal, amendment of services, and removal of faults and abuses in providing and distributing health services to patients. It includes a re-alignment of health services and health insurance to maximum demographic elements (the unemployed, indigent, uninsured, elderly, inner cities, rural areas) with reference to coverage, hospitalization, pricing and cost containment, insurers' and employers' costs, pre-existing medical conditions, prescribed drugs, equipment, and services.
A health care system which combines physicians, hospitals, and other medical services with a health plan to provide the complete spectrum of medical care for its customers. In a fully integrated system, the three key elements - physicians, hospital, and health plan membership - are in balance in terms of matching medical resources with the needs of purchasers and patients. (Coddington et al., Integrated Health Care: Reorganizing the Physician, Hospital and Health Plan Relationship, 1994, p7)
Purchasers are provided information on the quality of health care, including patient outcomes and health status, with data on the dollar outlays going towards health. The focus is on managing the use of the health care system to reduce inappropriate care and to identify and reward the best-performing providers. (from http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/meyerrpt.htm accessed 11/25/2011)
Planning that has the goals of improving health, improving accessibility to health services, and promoting efficiency in the provision of services and resources on a comprehensive basis for a whole community. (From Facts on File Dictionary of Health Care Management, 1988, p299)
Organized systems for providing comprehensive prepaid health care that have five basic attributes: (1) provide care in a defined geographic area; (2) provide or ensure delivery of an agreed-upon set of basic and supplemental health maintenance and treatment services; (3) provide care to a voluntarily enrolled group of persons; (4) require their enrollees to use the services of designated providers; and (5) receive reimbursement through a predetermined, fixed, periodic prepayment made by the enrollee without regard to the degree of services provided. (From Facts on File Dictionary of Health Care Management, 1988)