DHA director visits Ramstein, discusses health care changes

Story and photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, Defense Health Agency director, gives a presentation to base members during a visit to Ramstein, Aug. 22. Bono discussed upcoming changes to the health care program for Tricare beneficiaries.

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, Defense Health Agency director, visited Ramstein Aug. 22 to discuss future changes to the health care program for military members.

During Bono’s presentation, she talked about changes the DHA will implement by Jan. 2018.

“We are going to collapse Tricare Extra and Tricare Standard into one health plan called Tricare Select,” said Bono. “You’ll always have the option of Tricare Prime, but we’re trying to simplify things and create health care plans that are more in line with what commercial and private insurance companies are doing.”

Military members under Tricare Select will have the option to choose providers on a preferred provider network.

In an effort to streamline the health care program, members who are currently in Tricare Standard or Tricare Extra will automatically switch over to Tricare Select. Tricare Prime members will remain in Tricare Prime unless they choose to opt out of it.

The DHA is working with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System office to ensure the transition goes smoothly. Bono asks service members to check DEERS and verify that their information is updated, including any changes in status or added dependents.

“If their DEERS information is completely up-to-date, it will make the roll over easier,” she added.

In addition to this change, the DHA is planning to launch Military Health System Genesis, a new electronic health record system available for continental United States, outside of continental United States, and operational service members.

“Wherever our patients are, they will be able to have access to their health record,” explained Bono. “So they will be able to see what is going on with their care, who they have seen, what the diagnosis is, and what the treatment plans are.”

According to health.mil, MHS Genesis integrates inpatient and outpatient solutions that will connect medical and dental information across the continuum of care, from point of injury to the military treatment facility.

“I think it will be very helpful for parents to be able to see their kids’ shot records very easily now,” said Bono. “I think this is also going to help our national health care challenges in figuring out what we need to do to build a system that is responsive and meets our patients’ needs and helps take care not only of their preventative health issues, but also helps people understand what they can do to make sure that they don’t get complications from different illnesses.”

The DHA directs the execution of ten joint shared services including the health plan (TRICARE), pharmacy, health information technology, research and acquisition, education and training, public health, medical logistics, facility management, budget resource management, and contracting.