ICYMI: Opening Statement of Chairman Wilson - Hearing on Defense Health Agency

Feb 26, 2014
Press Release

Rep. Joe Wilson, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, made the following opening statement as prepared for delivery at a hearing on Defense Health Agency.

Witness testimony can be found on the Committee Repository as prepared for delivery; the committee is no longer providing paper copies of witness testimony. Additionally, a live video feed of the hearing can be seen on the Committee website. 

"Today the Subcommittee meets to hear testimony on the Defense Health Agency.  I would like to begin by acknowledging the remarkable military and civilian medical professionals who provide extraordinary care to our service members and their families here at home and around the world, often in some of the toughest and most austere environments.  I have firsthand knowledge of their dedication and sacrifice from my son, Addison, who is a Navy orthopedic surgeon stationed in Naples, Italy. "In 2011, the House passed legislation establishing a Joint/Unified Medical Command as a method of making a streamlined and efficient military health system, which has been shown by multiple studies to be a potential source of great cost savings.  Ultimately, the Department of Defense rejected the option of a Joint Command deciding instead to establish the Defense Health Agency as part of an overall restructure of the governance of the Military Health System to drive efficiencies and cost savings.  This was done despite concerns raised by the Government Accountability Office about the Department’s analyses of options for restructuring the military health system. "I am anxious to hear from our witnesses how the Defense Health Agency is progressing, including your forecast for accomplishing the goals of increased efficiency and cost reduction.   To that end, I would like the witnesses to address the following:    • The Government Accountability Office offered several recommendations regarding implementation of the Defense Health Agency.  How has the Department addressed these recommendations?  Was a comprehensive cost analysis of the Defense Health Agency conducted and what were the results?   • In June of 2013 the Department estimated that the Defense Health Agency staffing requirement would be 1,081.  By October 2013 that estimate nearly doubled to 1,941.  What is the current DHA staffing level? If it has deviated from the estimate, please explain why.  Are further increases in staffing requirements expected? • Given that seven of the ten shared services were implemented at the beginning of this fiscal year, are current spending and saving levels on par with the projections, especially the Pharmacy Program which was projected to attain early savings? "Finally, I would like to hear how the military Surgeons General were involved in the implementation process.    "I hope that our witnesses will address these important issues as directly as possible in their oral statements and in response to Member questions. We have three witnesses today.  We would like to give each witness the opportunity to present his testimony and each member an opportunity to question the witnesses.   "At this time, without objection, I ask unanimous consent that an additional statement from the American Clinical Laboratory Association (below) be included in the record of this hearing. Let me welcome the panel:


Ms. Brenda S. Farrell  Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, U.S. Government Accountability Office

•   Witness Statement PDF: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS02/20140226/101786/HHRG-113-AS02-Wstate-FarrellB-20140226.pdf

•   Witness Biography PDF: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS02/20140226/101786/HHRG-113-AS02-Bio-FarrellB-20140226.pdf

Lieutenant General Douglas J. Robb  Director, Defense Health Agency, U.S. Air Force

•   Joint DHA/DOD Statement PDF: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS02/20140226/101786/HHRG-113-AS02-Wstate-RobbD-20140226.pdf

•   Witness Biography PDF: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS02/20140226/101786/HHRG-113-AS02-Bio-RobbD-20140226.pdf

Dr. Jonathan Woodson  Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Department of Defense

•   Joint DHA/DOD Statment PDF: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS02/20140226/101786/HHRG-113-AS02-Wstate-WoodsonJ-20140226.pdf

•   Witness Biography PDF: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS02/20140226/101786/HHRG-113-AS02-Bio-WoodsonJ-20140226.pdf

Support Documents

•   ACLA Statement for the Record PDF: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS02/20140226/101786/HHRG-113-AS02-20140226-SD001.pdf

"Before we begin I’d like extend a special welcome to General Robb as this is his first appearance before the subcommittee."