Photo by Cpl. Sarah Cherry/Marine Corps
Does the DoD meet outpatient mental health access to care standards for active duty service members and their families? According to auditors with the DoD Inspector General, the answer is no.
One of the most concerning findings of the audit was that “an average of 53% (4,415 of 8,328 per month) of all active duty service members and their families, identified as needing mental health care and referred to the purchased care system, did not receive care and the MHS did not know why.”
The MHS did not track the reasons for unused referrals and therefore could not respond as to why this failure to provide service occurred. However, interviews with personnel and a review of the appointment and referral data revealed a pattern of delays for urgent care visits, routine mental health visits, and specialty care referrals. This aligns with MFAN’s research findings, showing that the greatest obstacle to mental health care was access to appointments.
You can access the full DoD IG Report on Mental Health here.
Photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Amidst continued contention over the handover of military medical facilities to the Defense Health Agency (DHA), the service chiefs are speaking up.
Together, the branch chiefs of the Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Space Force, and secretaries of the Navy, Air Force, and Army, are insisting that future transfers be suspended and those facilities already under DHA control be returned back to the military.
They contend that the COVID pandemic and response indicates that the
reform effort “introduces barriers, creates unnecessary complexity and increases inefficiency and cost.”
DHA asserts that the reforms will save money and improve quality of care and remains committed to proceeding as planned. We will continue to monitor this issue and keep you informed.
Photo by Devon Suits, Defense Media Activity – Army
A bipartisan proposal to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), introduced in both the Senate and the House, was signed into law by the President on August 14th.
While the final text has not yet been published, the intention of the amendment was to protect servicemembers in the
event of a stop movement order due to an emergency, like the current COVID-19 pandemic or any number of other such local or global crises. Under the proposal, a servicemember would be able to terminate a residential or vehicle lease under those circumstances.
Tech Sgt. Charlie Cornacchio’s story is just one example of why SCRA protections are important. According to the Justice Department, while Cornacchio was deployed, a moving and storage company auctioned off precious keepsakes and other belongings they were storing for him. Read more here:
MFAN is tracking the recently signed SCRA amendment and will continue to bring you up-to-the-minute information about the issues that most impact military families.