Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Top Military Medical Doctor Predicts Coronavirus Longevity

Image of Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of Defense Health Agency, delivers remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19 at the Pentagon, April 21, 2021. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of Defense Health Agency, delivers remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19 at the Pentagon, April 21, 2021. (DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

COVID-19 and other such coronaviruses likely will stay in the environment and continue to mutate, Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of Defense Health Agency, said.

"And we're going to have to deal with it," he told participants today at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition at National Harbor, Maryland, on the topic of the COVID-19 response and post-pandemic national security.

The United States is in an "OK place, but not a great place," at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding, "I think one of the things that many of us believe — which is a fallacy — is that [COVID-19] is going to go away. It's not going away, just like influenza is not going away. And the thing about many viruses is they tend to mutate, and they tend to do things that keep them alive."

One of the things people should feel comfortable with is the Defense Department medical team has insatiable curiosity, he told the audience, adding that medical research is a continuous process of improvement.

Place said the first order of illness always calls for prevention, followed by diagnosis.

"We're interested in taking care of everybody — service members, family members, retirees — but the Military Health System exists for the military," the general said. "That's our purpose. And so we think about service members and what we can do to keep them healthy.  … What piece of gear, what piece of anything can we use to prevent anything bad from happening to them?" It can be something infectious such as a cold, or an emerging injury, he noted.

Looking at COVID-19 from a military scientific perspective, it is a biological event, he said. And the COVID-19 vaccine should be considered biological body armor.

However, the general said, "Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from influenza, and while most of us in the uniformed services get vaccinated, most Americans actually don't. That's a problem for us."

The reason the United States has such a suite of good vaccines "isn't because that magical thinking happened by some manufacturers in the spring of 2020," Place said. "This is [research] based on years, in some cases, and more than a decade of research on how to take the vaccination methodology to a new level."

There are huge improvements in the way we're looking at how vaccines work, he said. "And I believe we will get to a place where we're not talking about COVID all the time." He warned, however, that getting that peace of mind probably won't happen this year.

"We will get to a place where it's going to be another infectious disease that we worry about, or we think about — much like influenza, measles or tetanus" where people get vaccinations to ward off diseases, Place said. "It's going to be part of our reality for a long time."

You also may be interested in...

Publication
Aug 1, 2022

Whole Health System Approach to Long COVID

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration is leading an effort to equip health care providers with a Veteran-centered Whole Health System approach to caring for Veterans with Long COVID, also known as post-COVID-19 conditions.

Publication
Oct 21, 2020

Updated Guidance for Performing Temperature Checks at Military MTFs and DTFs

.PDF | 179.18 KB

This guidance is an update to Defense Health Agency Return to Full Operations Concept of Operations, V5.0 (June 12, 2020) as it pertains to temperature checks in MTFs and DTFs. Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), previous guidance directed MTFs to take the temperature of all individuals entering the facility. ...

Publication
Aug 6, 2020

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 12) -Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

.PDF | 4.56 MB

This memorandum supplements requirements in references (a), (b), and (c) with respect to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and replaces reference (d). It provides pre- and postĀ­travel guidance for purposes of force health protection (FHP) of Service members, DoD family members, DoD civilian employees, and DoD contractor personnel.

Publication
Jun 3, 2020

Communication to ABA Providers Regarding Continued Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 During the COVID-19 National Emergency

.PDF | 122.59 KB

TRICARE is announcing the continuation of the temporary exception to policy regarding the use of synchronous telehealth (TH) capabilities (both audio and video) for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Family Adaptive Behavior Treatment Guidance services specifically during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Publication
May 26, 2020

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) -Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

.PDF | 243.02 KB

This memorandum provides force health protection (FHP) deployment and redeployment guidance for Service members (including Reserve Component (RC) and National Guard members in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) and DoD civilian employees deploying within and outside the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with references (a) and (b).

Publication
Apr 20, 2020

Modification and Reissuance of DoD Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 -Travel Restrictions

.PDF | 960.08 KB

All DoD Service members will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect. All DoD civilian personnel, and dependents of DoD Service members and DoD civilian personnel, whose travel is Government-funded will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect.

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery