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MTF cuts should halt due to coronavirus


Military Medical Retiree Changes, Cuts Should Halt Due to Pandemic: Senator
At least one senator wants the Pentagon to delay military medical cuts and a plan to push military retirees and families off base for care in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"The department has been engaged in a process of downsizing health personnel -- the closure of military medical treatment facilities, the shifting of retiree, military family members' care to Tricare," Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, said in a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel hearing Wednesday. "In many of these areas, treatment facilities may not be capable of handling the increased patient load. These cuts are happening at the same time of an outbreak of coronavirus and obviously will put a lot of pressure on our system."
Gillibrand's comments were made before the World Health Organization proclaimed the virus, officially known as COVID-19, to be a global pandemic.
The Defense Health Agency (DHA) announced last month plans to cut retirees and military families from receiving care at dozens of military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). found the process has already begun in some cases.
Related: More COVID-19 news
The change comes as part of an effort to cut costs and create efficiencies as the military health system transitions to DHA management from service branch control.
Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs who was testifying to the subcommittee Wednesday, assured Gillibrand that the DHA had created a contingency in its plan to reverse course if the surrounding medical community is unable to absorb military retirees and families -- something that could apply during the COVID-19 outbreak