By Brock Vergakis
Dec 25, 2016
The military has achieved a 97 percent survival rate for wounded personnel during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he doesn’t want to see those numbers drop in future conflicts.The Navy’s top doctor wants more sailors, Marines and their families to get their health care from the military so its medical personnel will be well-trained for the next conflict, and he’s eyeing private-sector methods to achieve his goal.
By comparison, the survival rate was about 80 percent in World Wars I and II, and about 84 percent during the Vietnam War, according to various studies cited by the Navy.
Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, the service’s surgeon general, said in a recent interview at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center that he’s working to make accessing care more convenient, to improve patient experiences and to leverage technology in an effort to appeal to young people.
He said about three of every four sailors were born after 1986, making them digital natives who are changing expectations of how health care should be delivered.
“We’ve got to adapt to that,” Faison said, mentioning videoconferencing and mobile apps.
Sailors, Marines and their family members are allowed to use the federally subsidized Tricare health program to seek treatment from private providers, and Faison is on a quest to recapture some of those patients.
Throughout the Defense Department, military facilities saw 250,000 inpatient admissions in the 2015 fiscal year; private facilities in the care network had more than three times as many – 795,000.
Faison said the Navy needs a variety of patients at home so its doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen are prepared for anything that comes up during a deployment.
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