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McCaffery sworn in as new ASDHA

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery was formally sworn into office on August 28, 2019 Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery was formally sworn into office on August 28, 2019

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Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs | Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs | Defense Health Agency | Military Health System Transformation

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery pledged Wednesday to ensure a focus on patients at a time of change for military medicine as he was formally sworn into office by Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist.

“There are very few jobs in this building that touch service members and their families the way this job does,” said Norquist. “He is the right person for the job – forward thinking, able to work with groups to find the right solutions.”

McCaffery, a former civilian health care executive, has served as the principle deputy secretary for health affairs since August 2017.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to work with people who, day-in and day-out, have the mission of taking care of service members and their families, said McCaffery. “It would be an honor at any time to take on this role on behalf of the men and women of the [Military Health System] and the people we serve, but that’s especially true now, as we embark on a series of historic changes that are designed to make a great system even better.”

As assistant secretary, McCaffery will serve as Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s chief adviser on medical affairs, responsible for executing the Defense Health Program, including providing health care to 9.5 million service members, retirees and their families through the TRICARE health benefit, at both military medical treatment facilities and through civilian networks.

He will also oversee a series of reform efforts, including:

  • Transfer of management of hundreds of military hospitals and clinics from the Army, Navy and Air Force to the Defense Health Agency, which will assume responsibility for U.S.-based medical facilities on Oct. 1, and all DoD treatment facilities around the world by October 2021.
  • Deployment of a new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, which will enable DoD to have a single record-keeping system for all medical care, from the battlefield to home-station facilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs is deploying a similar health record eventually providing seamless record-keeping from the time a service member enters the military through to VA health system care.
  • Better alignment of medical operations to the National Defense Strategy to increase the readiness of the Joint Force and provide the highest quality care possible to all Military Health System beneficiaries.

“The mission is unique for me and a great opportunity to be a part of an organization with a true purpose,” added McCaffery. “It is a privilege to work alongside people every day who are committed to the mission.”

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Continuing Implementation of the Reform of the Military Health System


This memorandum directs the continued implementation of the Military Health System (MHS) organizational reform required by 10 U.S.C. § 1073c, and sections 71 land 712 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The DoD policy for this reform is guided by the goals of improved readiness, better health, better care, and lower cost. The Department will advance these objectives through specific organizational reforms directed by Congress and the continued direction of the Secretary of Defense·anct the National Defense Strategy.

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