Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) released the below statement regarding the Pentagon’s recommendation that Redstone Arsenal’s Fox Army Health Center reduce its work scope.

“I have visited the Fox Army Health Center and been briefed both on recommended changes to Fox’s work scope and the health care Fox currently provides to tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley citizens.”

“Within 60 days, the Government Accountability Office will submit their review of the Pentagon’s Fox work scope recommendations to Congress. The GAO report will review the Pentagon’s methodologies. In addition, my staff and the House Armed Services Committee staff are reviewing the proposal so that Congress can be fully briefed on the report’s scope and reasons for the Pentagon’s recommendations. A major factor Congress will consider is whether the impacted communities have the health care capacity needed to provide military retirees and family members the quality health care they have earned.”

“By way of background, about 13,000 enrollees receive primary care through Fox. Less than 1,000 of these enrollees are active-duty service members. The remaining 12,000 enrollees are a combination of active-duty family members (roughly 2,500) and retirees. In addition, at least 40,000 non-enrolled patients receive ancillary services (pharmacy, laboratory, and wellness) at Fox.”

“On February 19th, the Pentagon issued a report to Congress that recommends closure, downsizing or realignment of various military treatment facilities across America. One recommendation is that Redstone Arsenal’s Fox Army Health Center be limited to active-duty only and occupational health clinic services, thus ending Fox’s provision of health care services to retired service members and their families. For emphasis, the report recommends that any transition take place over a 2-5 year period, thus giving Congress plenty of time to evaluate the Pentagon’s proposals. None of the recommended changes happen in the near future. There are no plans to close Fox.”

“Under the Pentagon’s recommendations, all active-duty service members would continue to receive primary care at Fox, and Fox would continue to support occupational health for all active duty and government civilians working on the installation. Further, the Pentagon recommends no change to pharmacy benefits; current services should still be available to all eligible beneficiaries. The most significant impact would be that roughly 12,000 of the current roughly 13,000 enrollees (the non-active-duty enrollees) would no longer receive primary health care at Fox and would, instead, seek primary health care through other health care providers in the Tennessee Valley. In addition, the Pentagon recommends that 15 active duty and 71 civilian medical personnel at Fox be reassigned to other duties or locations.”

“Congress, and specifically the House Armed Services Committee, of which I am a senior member, will review the report and vote on whether to adopt, reject or amend the Pentagon’s recommendations. Again, for emphasis, Congress may adopt, reject or amend the Pentagon’s recommendations and the proposed changes do not automatically or immediately take effect.”

“In my capacity as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will work to ensure military service members, active-duty and retired, and their families receive convenient, quality health care. Health care is essential to the readiness of America’s armed services. Health care was promised to retirees as an inducement to serve and that promise should be honored.”

“While, at the moment, I am not inclined to support the Pentagon’s recommended service scope changes at Fox Army Health Center, I believe it best to reserve final judgment until I have been fully briefed on why the Pentagon believes it is in the best interests of national security to reduce Fox’s service scope.”

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