Approximately 12,000 North Alabama patients could be losing access to their health care.
That’s how many active duty military family members, veterans, retirees and retirees’ families are served at Fox Army Health Center on Redstone Arsenal.
The Department of Defense has sent a proposal to Congress recommending that 50 military hospitals start restricting patients to only active duty members of the military.
Fox Army Health Center is on that list. It currently serves about 13,000 patients. This change would reduce that number to about 1,000.
“Health care as you and I know is very personal and for us here at Fox Army Health Center the health care for all of our beneficiaries remains priority number 1 for us,” said. Col. Anthony Meador, commander of Fox Army Health Center.
Officials said veterans are particularly worried about the proposal.
“What I’m hearing from some of our veterans is the financial impact of course to those members that are being affected,” said Larry Vannoy, Madison County American Legion Commander.
“Now they are going to have to go out and find family practice doctors to service them, and with that there is a fee that is associated with it they haven’t been paying in the past.
“If you visit the doctor often and some of our senior veterans do, then it’s going to hurt their monthly budget, of course.”
Congress now has 88 days to review the report and make any decisions. If the proposal is approved, it could take up to 5 years to implement, officials said.
“As of today, we’ve been directed to make no changes or any deviations from the health care that we deliver today or for the structure of that health care,” said Meador
“And as I receive more information I will be as transparent with the community, with our patients, with the families.”
Officials say the pharmacy on the arsenal would not be impacted by the proposed changes.