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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,

Washington, D.C., June 24, 1970. Hon. L. MENDEL RIVERS, Chairman. Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I have the honor to transmit herewith the report of the Supplemental Service Benefits Subcommittee on health benefit programs of the Armed Forces. The report has been reviewed and approved by the subcommittee members.

I shall appreciate your early approval of the report so that it may be printed. Sincerely,

JAMES A. BYRNE, Chairman, Supplemental Service Benefits Subcommittee. Approved:

L. MENDEL RIVERS, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services.

(III)

CONTENTS

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[H.A.S.C. No. 91-60] REPORT OF SUBCOMMITTEE ON SUPPLEMEN

TAL SERVICE BENEFITS ON HEALTH BENEFIT PROGRAMS OF THE ARMED FORCES

Summary of Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations

1. The quality of care provided in military hospitals and facilities is excellent. Two problems exist which in the future could have an adverse effect on the quality of care. These are: the retention of career medical officers; and crowded conditions existing in many hospitals and facilities due to an ever-increasing dependent and retired population.

2. Civilian hospitals and physicians have encountered difficulty in getting their bills paid in cases where they provided care for active duty military personnel in a leave or travel status. Each service maintains a separate system for handling such bills, with confusing procedures and inadequate information provided to doctors. The subcommittee supports the approach, now being tried on a pilot basis in Europe, of having a single system handling the billing for all such civilian care for active duty personnel.

3. Maintaining physical fitness of Armed Forces personnel is an important function of the military medical departments. The subcommittee commends the outstanding physical fitness program of the Department of the Air Force and believes the other services should consider adopting a similar program.

4. The retention of career medical officers is the most serious problem now confronting the military medical departments. The Surgeons General of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force all agreed on this fact.

All reasonable actions must be taken which might significantly reduce the loss of career medical officers. No one solution will eliminate the problem. Many improvements could be made by the Department of Defense and the military departments administratively.

As a part of the long-range solution to the problem, the subcommittee recommends the enactment of the Hébert bill, A.R. 1, which would establish a Uniformed Services Health Sciences Academy.

To achieve more immediate results, the subcommittee recommends that the Department of Defense pursue on a priority basis all administrative actions which could have a favorable impact on medical officer retention, such as improved career management, greater assignment stability, more adequate support personnel, and more continuing educational opportunities. The subcommittee recommends further that the Department be prepared to submit legislation to increase the level of earnings for military physicians.

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