New DoD health agency director is ‘worst woman in the military’

The new director of the Defense Health Agency is an “astonishing woman” and “the worst woman in the military,” said her former boss, the Army surgeon general.

During Lt. Gen. Telita Crosland’s promotion ceremony on January 20, Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle praised Crosland for her character and accomplishments and praised the guidance and values ​​her parents instilled in her.

But for all the accomplishments of the graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, through her 30 years in the military, Dingle said Crosland has made it clear that her greatest accomplishment is being a mother. Have to become

During the ceremony in which Crosland was promoted to lieutenant general, Dingle praised Crosland’s work as deputy surgeon in recent years, a challenging time for the military as well as the death of her husband three years earlier. Through his personal challenges, including the death of

The service’s medical personnel dealt with COVID-19, health issues evacuated from Afghanistan, and a large-scale military reform of the military medical system. But the pandemic and the Afghanistan mission helped clarify to him how the services can work together as a team, Crosland said in a recent interview with Military Times and other media, part of his promotional ceremony. time ago.

Crosland, who most recently served as Army deputy surgeon general, said her work as an Army family physician, and her approach to life, will be evident in her work at the Defense Health Agency. He assumed command on 3 January.

And she’s not sure whether her experience as a family physician will affect how she approaches DHA, as much as she’s a family physician “because that’s who I am.”

“All of this together will influence how I lead the DHA,” Crosland said.

“I think the way people will see it comes out [DHA] The director is that I am very focused on the patient at the center, very focused on the human being…. Not just the patient, but the person,” Crosland said.

In family therapy, that includes the home environment such as rugs that can be trip hazards, the patient’s nutritional needs and whether they are able to get enough food to improve their health, she said. Work also involves other people in the patient’s life who affect their well-being.

Family therapy is about the whole person, she said. “It will come up when I look at our health care system to make sure that ultimately that is what we are doing…..improving the health of an individual, whether you wear the uniform, you wore the uniform, or you served with someone in uniform.

“We’re very much about the human being,” she said. And she loves a wide variety of patients, from newborns to retired Vietnam and World War II veterans.

Crosland stressed the importance of providing care for all 9.6 million beneficiaries in the military health system.

As the Defense Health Agency implements a new iteration of TriCare contracts worth $136 billion starting in 2024, Crosland said it will focus on integrating the two systems — direct care through military treatment facilities, and Citizen care through Tricare, which is comprised of a network of citizen health care professionals, institutions, pharmacies and suppliers.

Crosland said it means she will work closely with the awardees of the Tricare contract to “make sure we can see the quality going out into the community,” to see what beneficiaries’ needs are and Make sure they are being taken care of.

“That’s who I’m talking to. Those we are privileged to serve,” Crosland said. “It’s about the human beings in our health care system, the people we care about who aren’t Huh [military treatment facilities],

‘A Sporty Three Years’

For more than three years, while the world was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Crosland served as the Army Deputy Surgeon General and Deputy Commanding General (Operations) of the Army Medical Command. This was also a period when the medical infrastructure of the army and other branches of the services was undergoing a major reform. Then came the return to Afghanistan in August 2021, and medical personnel in all military branches were helping to care for the health needs of those evacuated from Afghanistan.

“It was a sporty three years,” she said, describing a period of many challenges for medical forces of all service branches.

They were heavily involved in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a prepared and protected military force. Then, as the Delta COVID-19 variant increased across the US, the services were providing medical personnel to care for the health care of those evacuated from Afghanistan – including delivering children on airplanes, but bringing them to the United States was also involved. and getting them vaccinated and working with several federal agencies to integrate individuals into the United States.

At the same time, Congress-mandated reform efforts were in full swing to convert more than 700 military medical, dental, and veterinary facilities from the Army, Navy, and Air Force into the DHA umbrella. The goal of the DHA is to directly manage all military hospitals and clinics and integrate military health care with the Tricare network of providers.

“The transition was tough. It was tough. First of all, this is the change, arguably the biggest change in the Department of Defense since the Air Force moved from the Army,” Crosland said. Talking about bringing in Change is hard.”

But the essence of the services’ military health care has never changed, she said.

And, she added, “the pandemic showed what we are for. That didn’t change and hasn’t changed even today. We are still a military health care system that has to take care of the force, and the beneficiaries we are privileged to serve.

He said the pandemic helped clarify for him how the Defense Health Agency can do a better job with services that have more in common among them. “What’s different is our service culture,” she said, but those cultural differences are at the fringes of the military health system’s mission, which is to improve health and build readiness.

He said that during the pandemic, and repatriating evacuees from Afghanistan, medical personnel continued to care for patients around the world, and continued other missions such as training residents, doctors, nurses and medics.

“We did that as a team. If we focus on that, those are really good lessons on how we can move forward together to make sure we’re just as effective when the next crisis hits.” are, if not better,” she said.

And she wants to get the word out that the Reformation is over.

“Now the agency is much more about executing its mission to improve health and build preparedness. Anytime, anywhere, always,” she said.

While there are only so many hours in the day, she plans to reach out as much as possible to connect with those in the military community. “It’s important to make an effort, even though I know I won’t get everywhere. It helps me stay current, and helps me stay relevant. To do that she uses virtual tools as well as these Also using in-person meetings.

This family doctor is also very family friendly. Her face lights up when she talks about her 12-year-old son, Jackson. “I’m blessed with a few things. First, he’s a good kid. He’s flexible, he’s happy. He’s not perfect, but he’s my perfect. He’s well-adjusted. This allows me to continue serving Because if he wasn’t there, I probably would have made a different decision.”

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and co-authored a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families” Huh. He previously worked in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla. and worked for newspapers in Athens, Ga.

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