Wartime Medical Care:

Aligning Sound Requirements with New Combat Care Approaches Is Key to Restructuring Force

T-NSIAD-95-129: Published: Mar 30, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed wartime medical requirements, focusing on the Department of Defense's (DOD) study of the military medical care system. GAO noted that: (1) the DOD study concluded that wartime requirements could be met with fewer physicians and beds than those planned for fiscal year 1999; (2) reducing the size of the DOD medical system would probably not result in any real savings, since medical costs would be shifted to the DOD medical insurance program; (3) although DOD employed a reasonable methodology for identifying its wartime medical requirements, it did not involve the commanders of the two major combat theaters, whose operations plans produce higher wartime medical requirements because they assume a larger risk-exposed population, higher casualties, and more time in military hospitals; (4) the study did not describe the structure the medical system should take to meet DOD wartime requirements; (5) DOD must decide on what key factors will affect the demands for medical care and then determine what the optimal system should be to meet those demands; and (6) DOD may have to restructure its current wartime medical system from a heavy, hospital-based system to a lighter, more mobile care-based system.

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