San Diego's Military Hospitals Are Set To Combine With The Rest Of Military Medicine
All branches of military medicine are about to become part of the same command.
The change has been coming for a few years. Starting Tuesday, all Navy and Marine medicine will be consolidated with Army and Air Force medicine under the Defense Health Agency. Patients shouldn’t notice an immediate impact, said DHA Assistant Director, Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, who was recently at the Naval Hospital, San Diego.
“Our belief is this integrated system of readiness and health is not going to change,” Payne said. “We’re going to continue to support the warfighter and the war fighter’s family after the transition. I wouldn’t expect any difference.”
Payne acknowledged there have been discussions of cuts once everything has been finalized. In the Pentagon’s 2020 budget request, the department of defense proposes cutting 18,000 positions and making other cuts in military medicine, once the transition is complete. No decisions have been made, Payne said.
“We’ll look at the market to determine what resources need to be there,” he said. “Where can we gain some efficiencies. And how do we execute the care in a market fashion, not as an individual Navy or individual Air Force facility.”
Being a major hub for the Navy and Marines should insulate San Diego County as planners look at eliminating duplication under the combined command. San Diego is expected to remain a hub for the new command. The Naval hospitals at Balboa Park and Camp Pendleton will become part of the new Medical Forces Pacific.