2 Alabama military clinics will no longer serve retirees, active duty family members

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Two Alabama military clinics are among 30 in the nation that will no longer serve retired military personnel or family members of those on active duty, according to a U.S. Department of Defense report submitted Wednesday to Congress.

The decision was made to reduce care at the clinics at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville and Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery “to increase the readiness of our operational and medical forces,” according to the report to congressional defense committees.

While the clinics will be shuttered, pharmacy services will remain in place for retirees, their families and active military families, according to the report.

“Military readiness includes making sure MTFs [military training facilities] are operated to ensure service members are medically ready to train and deploy,” said Tom McCaffery, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “It also means MTFs are effectively utilized as platforms that enable our military medical personnel to acquire and maintain the clinical skills and experience that prepares them for deployment in support of combat operations around the world.”

Military retirees and their families along with the families of active duty personnel will be transitioned to the civilian insurance network of Tricare, the health insurance for the military and their families.

The Military Health System acknowledged the transition “will take time — in some cases several years” but said if local Tricare networks can’t prove access to quality of care that the Defense Department would revise the plan.

“Markets are expected to transition MTF eligibles to the network at different rates and, in certain markets, the transition could take several years,” the report states. Detailed implementation plans will be developed through coordination with MTFs, the Defense Health Agency, the Military Departments, and the Tricare Health Plan.

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