May 17 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 (NDAA) includes a plan to overhaul and improve TRICARE for active duty servicemembers, reservists, and their family members, which incorporates several major provisions proposed by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).

Senator Tillis originally offered the proposals to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) in a February 2016 letter.

“Our servicemembers make enormous sacrifices in defense of our freedoms, and they deserve access to the timely and quality health care choices that work best for them and their families,” said Senator Tillis. “It was an honor to work with my colleagues on a plan to reform and modernize the TRICARE system, which will increase collaboration between the military and private sector, ultimately improving health outcomes for TRICARE beneficiaries.”

The Tillis proposals secured in the NDAA include:

The establishment of high performance military-civilian integrated health delivery systems.

The Tillis provision would improve health outcomes and enhance the experience of care for beneficiaries as local military treatment facilities create strong relationships with private sector health systems to form integrated high performance health systems. These formal relationships would foster innovation in military treatment facilities, enhance operational medical force readiness, improve access to specialized medical care, and strengthen care coordination through integration of all activities of these new health delivery systems.

Contracts with private sector entities to provide certain health care services at military treatment facilities.

The Tillis provision requires the Secretary of Defense to enter into centrally-managed, performance-based contracts with private sector entities to improve the delivery of health care services at military treatment facilities with limited or restricted ability to provide services such as primary care or expanded-hours urgent care. Contracts would be designed to purchase improvement in health outcomes for covered beneficiaries seeking health care services in military treatment facilities.

Memoranda of agreements between the Department of Defense and institution of higher education that offer degrees in allopathic or osteopathic medicine.

By sharing training facilities, staffing, and material resources, these new academic affiliations could help improve and sustain operational medical force readiness and possibly serve as a productive recruiting grounds for new military physicians.