Last month, The NY Times published research indicating… yeah, it does suck. And If you’re reading this and are military-affiliated, some of you may not have been that surprised.

military health care
photo c/o/ usmilitary.com

According to the report, “More than 50,000 babies are born at military hospitals each year, and they are twice as likely to be injured during delivery as newborns nationwide, the most recent statistics show. And their mothers were more likely to hemorrhage after childbirth than mothers at civilian hospitals”.

Think about it. How long does it take you to schedule an appointment at a military hospital/clinic? When you go for an appointment, how long do you have to wait? When you’re at the appointment, do you think you are receiving the absolute best in state-of-the-art health care?

(If anyone said yes to that last question, either message me what hospital you go or GTFO because you’re lying. Or maybe you truly haven’t see what awesome healthcare is like.)

But why does military healthcare suck?

According to them, “The reasons, military doctors and nurses said, are rooted in a compartmentalized system of leadership, a culture of interservice secrecy and an overall failure to make patient safety a top priority.”

Overall failure to make patient safety a top priority? Well, doesn’t that make me feel all warm and fuzzy?

What’s even more frightening is that according to records from 2006-2010, the government has paid out 100 million in malpractice settlements. The figure could actually be TRIPLE, if active duty members were allowed to sue. Which they’re not.

I don’t live in my little military bubble. I know civilian hospitals have their problems too. And I’m sure anyone and everyone can provide a negative anecdote about an experience they had at either facility. My personal problem with military hospitals comes from 3 bad experiences: 1) One military hospital mixed up my husband’s lab results of that with another patient. Strike 1. 2) Military doctors didn’t seem to care about me until they see my husband come in, in uniform. Strike 2. 3) One military nurse tried to stick an IV in me and FAILED 3X. I had to wait until the civilian EMT to come and do it on the first try, no less. Strike 3 and I’m onto civilian care.

These stories, statistics, reports, and even the Pentagon spokesperson states that there is a problem with health care for military families and it needs to be fixed.

I work full time so yes, I can opt on to my company’s insurance but their copays are too expensive. I chose Tricare because it was the more affordable option. It’s unfortunate that U.S. healthcare has a “you get what you pay for” mentality. I mean these military doctors, nurses and staff are treating our nation’s bravest people and their families. If anything, health care should be of the highest agenda.

With Tricare, family members have the option of switching to standard and paying out of pocket (which is what I currently do). And so far, it has been the best thing for me as I am what you call… nit-picky. My husband has another 5 letter word for it but he dare not say it to my face. I need to see my doctor’s degrees from reputable universities. I research any reviews I can from other patients. And I do an internet search of any malpractice suits that concern their names.

But my husband and fellow AD members do not have a choice.

For those that are on Tricare Prime, seeing military health officials are their only option. An option that takes weeks to provide referrals for important health matters. For those that were able to see civilian doctors on prime… that’s changing too.

Another statistic: “researchers concluded in 2010 that one-third of patients at three major civilian hospitals had suffered some kind of harm. A similar pilot study by the Pentagon last year found that nearly half the patients whose files were reviewed at a major military hospital had been harmed at least once. The study suggested 99 percent of harm at that hospital was not reported by medical workers.”

Ok, so the government recognizes the problem, but what are they going to do about it? Another report? Another safety brief? Another check the box? Even if we complain or raise our concerns, does it even matter?

According to a current military hospital staff member, “It is an exercise in futility,” said the staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of job repercussions. “We can jump up and down and shake our fists, but nothing changes.”

So… all of those ICE comments were for nothing?

…Most likely.

You’ve heard the term before… “good enough for government work”. Well this situation is not “good enough”. At the very least, the healthcare of Active Duty, Veterans, and Retirees should be the priority.

Fix it, Military Hospitals.
Fix it, Department of Defense.
Fix it, Congress.

Before another preventable tragedy happens.

What has been your experience with military health care?

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