The new director of the Defense Health Agency is an “amazing woman” and “the worst woman in the military,” says her former boss, the surgeon general.
At the promotion ceremony for Lt. Gen. Terita Crosland Jan. 20, General Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle praised Crosland for his character and accomplishments and credited his parents for their guidance and the values they instilled.
But for all of her graduation from the US Military Academy at West Point, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, during her 30 years in the military, Dingle said Crosland has shown that her greatest achievement is being a mother.
At the ceremony where Crosland was promoted to lieutenant general, Dingle praised Crosland’s work as a deputy surgeon general in recent years, facing the challenges of the war, as well as personal hardships, including the death of her husband three years ago.
Healthcare workers have dealt with COVID-19, the health issues of Afghan refugees and a major shift in the military. But the outbreak and the Afghanistan mission helped him better understand how the services can work together as a team, Crosland said, in an interview with Military Times and other reporters shortly before his promotion ceremony.
Crosland, who most recently served as the deputy surgeon general of the Army, said his work as an Army physician, and his lifestyle, will be reflected in his work at the Defense Health Agency. He took command Jan. 3.
And she doesn’t know if her experience as a family doctor will affect how she approaches DHA and that she is a family doctor “because of who I am.”
“All of these things together will affect how I lead DHA,” Crosland said.
“I think people will see how it goes [DHA] director is that I focus on the patient in between, I focus on the person…. not just the patient, but the person,” said Crosland.
In family medicine, that includes living conditions at home such as bedding that could be a travel hazard, what foods the patient needs and whether they can get enough food to stay healthy, he said. This work also includes other people in the patient’s life who affect their life.
Family medicine is about the whole person, he said. “This is going to come out when I’m looking at the medical system to make sure that this is what we want… …to improve the health of the person, whether you wear a uniform, you wear a uniform, or you serve alongside it. It’s a person who wore a uniform.
“We really like the guy,” he said. And he loves the wide variety of patients he treats, from infants to Vietnam veterans and World War II veterans.
Crosland emphasized the need to care for all 9.6 million beneficiaries in the Military Health System.
As the Defense Health Agency implements a new iteration of the $136 billion Tricare contract that is set to begin in 2024, Crosland said they will focus on integrating the two systems — direct care through military hospitals, and civilian care through Tricare, itself. includes a group of medical professionals, organizations, pharmacies, and retailers.
Crosland said that means he will work with Tricare contract awardees “hardly to make sure we can see what’s going well in the community,” to see what beneficiaries need and make sure they’re being taken care of. about.
“That’s who I’m talking to.” Those we have the opportunity to serve,” said Crosland. “It’s about humanity in our health care system, everyone we care for including those outside our community [military treatment facilities].”
‘Three years of sport’
For more than three years, as the world was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, Crosland served as the Deputy Chief of Operations and Deputy Commanding General (Operations) of the Army Medical Command. It was also a time when the medical equipment of the Army and other branches of service underwent major changes. Then the withdrawal from Afghanistan took place in August 2021, and medical personnel from all branches of the military were helping to care for the needs of the Afghan refugees.
“It was three years of the game,” he said, describing several challenges for the medical teams of all branches.
He played a major role in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while keeping the military ready and protected. Then, as Delta’s COVID-19 outbreak continued in the US, the services provided medics to care for the needs of Afghan refugees – including delivering babies on planes, and bringing them to the United States. and getting them vaccinated and working with several federal agencies to get people into the United States.
At the same time, the Congress-mandated restructuring effort to transition more than 700 medical, dental and veterinary facilities from the Army, Navy and Air Force to the DHA umbrella was in full swing. The goal is for DHA to directly oversee all military hospitals and clinics and integrate military health care with the Tricare network of providers.
Change was difficult. It was difficult. First of all, there’s been a change, probably the biggest change in the Department of Defense since the Air Force left the Army,” Crosland said. “We’re talking about bringing all of the military into one organization. Change is hard.”
But the need for military health care hasn’t changed, he said.
And, he said, “the epidemic showed what we want. That has not changed, and today it has not changed. We are still an army that must take care of the army, and the beneficiaries that we have the opportunity to serve.”
The outbreak helped define for him, he said, how the Defense Health Agency can best work with those services, including what is most important among them. “The difference is our culture of service,” he said, but the culture difference is at the edge of what the military’s job security is, which is to improve health and be ready.
Throughout the outbreak, and bringing back refugees from Afghanistan, medical workers continued to care for patients around the world, and continued other activities such as training residents, doctors, nurses and paramedics, he said.
“We did this as a team. If we look at this, this is a great lesson in how we can continue to work together to ensure that when the next crisis comes, we are effective, if not better,” he said.
And they want to get the word out that the renovation is over.
“Now the organization is more interested in doing its job, improving health and planning. Anytime, anywhere, always,” he said.
Despite the long hours in the day, he plans to try his best to fit in with those in the military. It’s worth trying, even though I know I won’t get anywhere. It helps me to maintain my confidence, and to be responsible. ” To do this, they are using real tools and social media.
This family therapist is also about the family. Her face lights up when she talks about her 12-year-old son, Jackson. “I have been blessed with several things. First of all, he is a good boy. He is patient, and happy. He is not perfect, but he is my perfect. He is well-adjusted. This helps me to continue to serve, because if he didn’t, then I would have to choose what to do.”
Karen has covered military family, wellness and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is the co-author of the chapter on military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families.” He previously worked at newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.