The Tricare Blind Spot

The military healthcare system “provides good quality care that is safe and timely and is comparable to that found in the civilian sector,” but there is “wide performance variability” between the two systems, according to an extensive study of MHS, released Wednesday. The report indicated problems in comparing the quality of the care provided by the military’s hospitals and clinics and the “purchased” care from private providers under the Tricare system. It did not cite deficiencies in the private care but said difference in reporting metrics made it “difficult to draw comparisons between the two.” For example, while the report found that access to care in the direct care system “meets the identified standards,” with access to specialty care averaging 12.4 days, below the 28-day standard, and access to immediate care less than the 24-hour standard, lack of data from the Tricare system creates “a sizable blind spot.” (DOD report; Caution, large-sized file)