Defense Health Care:

Uniformed Services Treatment Facility Health Program

HEHS-94-174: Published: Jun 2, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1994.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the health care agreements entered into between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Uniformed Services Treatment Facilities (USTF), focusing on: (1) how the health care services and beneficiary cost-sharing requirements under USTF agreements compare to those of the other military health care delivery system components; and (2) the costs and other implications of terminating USTF agreements before their expiration.

GAO found that: (1) USTF health care services are equivalent to those established under the TRICARE Prime Program and are greater than those available under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS), TRICARE Extra, and at nearby military facilities; (2) the USTF program requires less beneficiary cost sharing than TRICARE or CHAMPUS, but more than direct care systems; (3) the costs of terminating USTF agreements before they expire vary among the government, beneficiaries, and USTF; (4) the impact of early termination on the government depends on the cost-effectiveness of the USTF Program; (5) DOD could face costly litigation brought by USTF if it terminates the agreements for reasons other than those specified by statute or in the agreements; (6) although beneficiaries would be able to access health care services through TRICARE, CHAMPUS, Medicare, direct care systems, or private health insurance if the USTF program were terminated, their costs would likely increase and some could experience disruptions in service; and (7) the impact of terminating the USTF program would vary by facility and the extent to which each facility depends upon USTF program revenue.

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