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Payne visits service members, facilities in Puget Sound

Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, assistant director for Combat Support, Defense Health Agency, speaks with service members and staff at Madigan Army Medical Center during a town hall in Letterman Auditorium. Payne visited Madigan as the final stop of his tour of the Pacific Northwest military treatment facilities, also including the Air Force’s 62nd Medical Squadron, Naval Hospital Bremerton and Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor. He conducted town halls at each location, focusing on MHS transformation, and answering questions from the audience on topics ranging from MHS GENESIS, readiness and training, and the future of military medicine. (U.S. Army photo by Ryan Graham) Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, assistant director for Combat Support, Defense Health Agency, speaks with service members and staff at Madigan Army Medical Center during a town hall in Letterman Auditorium. Payne visited Madigan as the final stop of his tour of the Pacific Northwest military treatment facilities, also including the Air Force’s 62nd Medical Squadron, Naval Hospital Bremerton and Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor. He conducted town halls at each location, focusing on MHS transformation, and answering questions from the audience on topics ranging from MHS GENESIS, readiness and training, and the future of military medicine. (U.S. Army photo by Ryan Graham)

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Great outcomes, a ready medical force, satisfied patients, and a fulfilled staff – those were the Defense Health Agency priorities Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne shared with Army, Navy and Air Force teams as he toured the military treatment facilities in the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest.

As the DHA’s Assistant Director for Combat Support, Payne focuses his efforts on a ready medical force and a medically ready force, while providing support to combatant commanders.

“Our job is to make sure that this group of people is as medically fit and ready as they can possibly be to go do their job – a challenging job, an impactful job on their bodies and on their minds, and we have to make sure they’re ready,” Payne said during a town hall at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Delivering effective combat power, he added, depends on military health’s ability to build a medically ready force.

Payne acknowledged that while this is a priority, the Military Health System is also facing the most challenging amount of change he has seen in his 33 years of service.

“The reform we are going through is necessary; we have to make some changes,” he said. “We have delivered in the past 19 years of conflict the lowest case fatality rate in the history of warfare, and we’ve been a learning system. The joint trauma system has been extremely and incredibly effective in finding problems and translating that back into clinical practice guidelines, improving care … but the conflict we’re likely to engage in is likely to change, so as health care leaders, we have to move forward and make sure we can deliver the same care.”

The Defense Health Agency launched the most significant change to the Military Health System in over three decades when in October it initiated the congressionally directed transfer of authority, direction and control of military medical and dental facilities in the United States to DHA.

Payne visited several of those facilities in the northwest – Madigan, Naval Hospital Bremerton and Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor, and the 62nd Medical Squadron’s Airman’s Clinic.

At each, he met with leaders and hosted a town hall to discuss MHS transformation, health and readiness of the force and topics as wide ranging as the market-based structure for managing MTFs, the new Department of Defense electronic health record MHS GENESIS, the health benefit and network care, the civilian workforce and active-duty career management.

“When you think about us and the work that we do, we’re both a profession of arms and a profession of medicine. To keep (the military) where we need to be in terms of being a global force, we’re part of that equation,” he said.

“The Military Health System is going through this complex change, but it’s not us versus them. It’s just us,” he said.

You are instrumental, he told providers and staff at the MTFs he visited in the northwest – instrumental in keeping Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen medically current and competent and in maintaining a ready medical force.

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