Defense Health Agency leaders chart course for future success

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Hailey Staker
  • JBER Public Affairs

On Sept. 15 the Defense Health Agency Alaska Market, which was formally established in late 2021, hosted its first-ever strategic planning conference in Anchorage.

Led by the 673d Medical Group commander and Alaska Market director, Col. Mike Fea, this was the first time that all DHA Alaska leadership teams came together to discuss the future of the operational headquarters and its widely varied healthcare organizations.

During the conference, medical command teams from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Eielson Air Force Base, Medical Department Activity-Alaska and Dental Command in Fort Wainwright met to create a strategic plan, vision, and lines of effort to provide comprehensive healthcare to more than 159,000 beneficiaries in Alaska.

“The goal is for DHA leaders to formulate, disseminate and routinely use a written, transparent, sustainable five-year Alaska Market Strategic Plan that advances the four lines of effort of Clinical Platform [Infrastructure], Business Optimization, Talent Management and Market Maturity,” said Mr. S.C. “Chief” Ebell, the DHA Alaska Market chief of staff. “The plan will synchronize efforts of all DoD healthcare organizations and our partners across Alaska, via 2,601 team members, to care for nearly seven generations of patients.”

Through the conference, Fea expertly guided DHA leaders in the establishment of a vision, which was “The Premier DHA Market producing outstanding readiness, value, and outcomes.” Additionally, the conference allowed for expanding lines of effort and goals that included delivering exceptional care, securing the workforce we need, optimizing limited resources, and being fully ready and sustainable.

“The Alaska Market provides leadership, direction, control and administration over all DoD healthcare organizations in Alaska to supply combatant commands – INDOPACOM and NORTHCOM – with a medically ready force and a ready medical force,” Ebell said. “This concept enables us to also rapidly and effectively fulfil known and emerging requirements across the unique and vast state of Alaska without external coordination or approvals.”

Ebell explained a situation from summer 2022 that required optimizing limited resources, and how waiting on external coordination could have negatively impacted care.

“The Bassett Army Community Hospital at Fort Wainwright required an emergency medicine physician to fill a gap in coverage to maintain that military readiness requirement during the summer permanent change of station move cycle,” Ebell continued. “The Alaska Market tasked the 673d Medical Group at JBER, which quickly sent an emergency medicine doctor to Fort Wainwright to provide that necessary support. These actions ensured all U.S. Forces stationed at both Fort Wainwright and Eielson AFB were medically ready.”

Additionally, by experiencing a different facility’s operating procedures, the JBER physician was able to enhance their own skills, further ensuring a ready medical force for combatant commanders.

Alaska’s medical market is comprised of eight treatment facilities and partnerships with Veterans Affairs hospitals, private sector teaching hospitals, TRICARE, and other federal health care organizations in a variety of specialties like dentistry and primary care.

Over the next five years, DHA’s Alaska Market will utilize approximately $1.2 billion in resources to ensure not only service members and medical personnel are ready, anytime, anywhere, but also their families, veterans and retirees have proper access to holistic healthcare.