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DHA plus DLA equals one joint approach for health care logistics

Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, DHA director (left), and Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, DLA director (right) signed a memorandum of agreement on Aug. 15, at Defense Health Headquarters. The agreement clarifies the agencies' complementary roles and responsibilities, avoiding duplication of effort while retaining DLA as DHA's acquisition enabler of choice for medical materiel. (MHS photo) Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, DHA director (left), and Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, DLA director (right) signed a memorandum of agreement on Aug. 15, at Defense Health Headquarters. The agreement clarifies the agencies' complementary roles and responsibilities, avoiding duplication of effort while retaining DLA as DHA's acquisition enabler of choice for medical materiel. (MHS photo)

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The directors of the Defense Health Agency and Defense Logistics Agency signed a memorandum of agreement on Thursday, Aug. 15, at Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. The agreement clarifies the agencies' complementary roles and responsibilities, avoiding duplication of effort while retaining DLA as DHA's acquisition enabler of choice for medical materiel.

Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, DHA director, and Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams, DLA director, said the agreement marks another step in strengthening the two agencies' partnership as they formalized a joint approach to improving logistics support to the military health care community.

"Combat support agencies like DHA and DLA not only provide direct support to combatant commands, they support one another as well," Bono said. "The Military Health System is undergoing one of the most sweeping organizational reforms in decades, and through actions such as this agreement, we strengthen our partnerships. These synergies elevate our overall readiness and contribute to efficiencies needed to support our priorities."

As combat support agencies, both DHA and DLA share similar roles and responsibilities in providing rapid, synchronized, and low-cost medical logistic support to Department of Defense customers, Williams said. The defined roles and responsibilities in the MOA assign medical materiel acquisitions to DLA, and medical services acquisitions to DHA.

With the MOA in place, both agencies can now leverage their acquisition competencies to complement one another and optimize overall support throughout the DoD, the leaders noted.

“This partnership reflects a shared commitment to sustaining medical readiness of our military forces across the globe,” Williams said. “Our singular focus as DHA’s acquisition enabler is to ensure rapid, reliable, and cost-effective medical logistics solutions for our warfighters and nation.”

The MOA reaffirms a partnership that dates to 2013 and reflects DLA’s support to DHA as it expands its mission and assumes on Oct. 1 all administration and management responsibilities of military treatment facilities. Congress initiated this change because of the need for a more flexible, adaptable, effective, and integrated system to manage MTFs.  DHA is establishing a market-based structure to manage the hospitals and clinics. These market organizations will provide shared administrative services to the hospitals and clinics in their region. They will be responsible for generating medical readiness of active-duty members and families in their regions as well as ensuring the readiness of medical personnel.

The MOA covers all aspects of medical logistics support provided by DLA to DHA, and DHA's consideration for that support in performance areas including pharmaceuticals, medical-surgical supplies, health care technology equipment, cataloging, and Class VIII surge and sustainment materiel required by the services to meet the demands of the national military support strategy.

The MOA also creates opportunities for the agencies to adapt to new requirements, improve medical logistic support programs, and reduce costs.

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