How Deployments Affect the Capacity and Utilization of Army Treatment Facilities
RAND ARROYO CENTER SANTA MONICA CA
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Ongoing deployments since 2004 have affected the population dynamics at military installations and military treatment facilities MTFs. When operational Army units such as infantry brigades deploy, active-duty health care providers assigned to the units go with them, and so do some active-duty providers who are assigned to work full-time at MTFs. So when large Army units deploy and leave the installations at which they train, the number of providers available to provide care for soldiers and other beneficiaries at the installation decreases, as does the number of beneficiaries seeking care, through the large-scale departure of soldiers deploying with the units. Under the Army Force Generation ARFORGEN cycle, units and large numbers of soldiers deploy and return home to installations on a predictable schedule, and during the affected time periods, the population of the installation shifts e.g., resulting in fewer soldiers present or a changing mix of soldiers. Army officials were concerned about the possible effects of variations driven by deployments on the demand for and availability of health care. In particular, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army VCSA wanted to know whether Army deployments were having unintended and unknown effects on the well-being of soldiers and their immediate families. The VCSA was concerned that ebbs and flows in the ability of Army military treatment facilities to provide medical care might affect the systems ability to respond to changes in family needs as soldiers deploy, redeploy, and return home. In March 2009, the VCSA asked RAND Arroyo Center to investigate the collateral effects of ARFORGEN on soldiers and, especially, families ability to receive health care.
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