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Internal memo says over 30 military hospitals will soon stop treating families and retirees

Editor’s Note: This article by Amy Bushatz originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Military families and retirees receiving care through 38 military hospitals nationwide will soon be forced to go off-base instead, and some pharmacies at those hospitals will stop providing drugs to those not on active duty, Military.com has learned.


A 12-page memo, reviewed by Military.com, was sent to the commanders of 50 military treatment facilities, or MTFs, targeted for changes. It details for commanders the impacts of a planned MTF restructuring, the subject of an upcoming report to Congress. It also includes a letter to commanders explaining upcoming changes, signed by Lt. Gen. Ronald Pace, who directs the Defense Health Agency, and provides communications guidance to public affairs personnel.

Related: Army Secretary Calls for Slowdown of Military Health Care Merger

The changes are a part of a review of military hospital operations and a system consolidation under the Defense Health Agency ordered by Congress in 2016. Aimed at increasing a focus on military readiness, the consolidation includes a plan to cut about 18,000 uniformed medical personnel and increase focus on active-duty support.

But to do so, the hospitals must cull the number of family members and retirees to whom they currently offer care. The report to Congress detailed in the memo lays out the Pentagon’s path for those changes.

“DoD must adapt the military health system to focus more on readiness of the combined force, while continuing to meet our access to health care obligations for active duty families, retirees and their families,” the Feb. 3 memo states. “With a challenging array of threats around the world, we need our military medical facilities to keep combat forces healthy and prepare our medical personnel to support them.”

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