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New DHA Region to Support Health Care Across Three Combatant Commands

Image of Two men unfold flags. The Defense Health Agency formally establishes the DHA Region Europe Oct. 25, 2022, marking the final major organizational change that institutes the DHA as the Defense Department’s lead agency responsible for health care delivery at U.S. military medical facilities worldwide. Here, U.S. Army. Brig. Gen. Clinton K. Murray (left), the director of the DHAR-E, unfolds the DHA flag during the establishment ceremony in Garmisch, Germany. The eight stars on the DHA flag represents the uniformed services the DHA serves -- U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Service. (Photo: MHS Communications)

In a culmination of a years-long process, the Defense Health Agency welcomed military hospitals and clinics in Europe and the Middle East to a new DHA region as the final major organizational change that establishes the DHA as the Department of Defense’s lead agency responsible for health care delivery across U.S. military brick-and-mortar hospitals and clinics worldwide.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, director of the DHA, presided over a ceremony in Germany Oct. 25, establishing the DHA Region Europe. The region oversees health care delivery for more than 135,000 beneficiaries currently enrolled in military hospitals and clinics in Iceland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bahrain, and Kuwait. They support service, joint, and multi-national combined activities, programs, and operations across three U.S. combatant commands–U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Africa Command.

“Today, we’re welcoming the military medical facilities throughout the entire EUCOM and CENTCOM areas of responsibility, and also continuing our support to AFRICOM AOR, even though we don’t have fixed facilities there,” said Place during the ceremony in Garmisch, Germany. “This transition is different in that it represents three combatant command areas of responsibility, and it represents communities where we deliver a much larger percentage of the overall medical care.”

Led by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Clinton K. Murray, director of the DHAR-E, the region comprises 29 medical facilities providing health care to U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Space Force service members, their families, and military retiree families.

The establishment of DHAR-E will increase overall access to care for beneficiaries and improve coordination and standardization across the Military Health System. The agency will also provide more opportunities for military medical providers to get the training they need.

Murray said, “Why we’re here is because we’re a power projection platform, and that’s who we support. We need a ready medical force and a ready medical force to support three combatant commands.”

Following the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017, DHA started the process to assume responsibility for the administration and management of military hospitals and clinics throughout the world. By establishing the DHAR-E, DHA and military service branches can tailor health care delivery and medical readiness to their warfighters.

“As beneficiaries witness this transition, the changes may not be immediately evident. But, over time, they’ll see more and more common processes, whether that’s from the value of a common health record at every military hospital or clinic and dental treatment facility, or a simplified means to access care,” said Place. “The medical leaders here and throughout these combatant commands will make that happen. And the Defense Health Agency, as an entity, is here to support you.”

Place recognized that each medical facility and installation “has a unique mission, unique characteristic, geography, and history. And you understand the ‘ground truth’ of health care in your community,” he added.

Murray emphasized the importance of launching DHAR-E with a team of dedicated professionals.

“We must integrate, coordinate, and liaise at the echelon level. We need the right personnel to make sure we have the logistics and facilities in place to move at the speed of relevance,” said Murray.

Place noted DHA’s commitment to beneficiaries across Europe.

“Our job in the DHA is to support you with those services,” he said. “You, the military line leaders. You, the military medical leaders. And you, the patients we all serve.”

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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