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The reserve components (RCs) of the U.S. military must ensure that reservists are not only properly equipped and trained, but also medically ready to serve. Medical readiness means that service members are free from health-related conditions, including dental conditions, that could limit their ability to carry out their duties. Medically ready reservists require less medical and dental support in theater and fewer medical evacuations from theater, both of which save money and free assets for other purposes. This volume identifies existing medical readiness requirements, quantifies the current status of RC medical readiness, identifies obstacles to achieving compliance, and suggests options for improving medical readiness in a cost-effective manner. The authors find that time and expense are major barriers to the RCs achieving their overall goals for medical readiness. Recommendations include standardizing medical readiness criteria across services, improving data reporting and archiving processes, providing incentives to individuals and units to achieve medical readiness, and continuing to extend TRICARE coverage to reservists prior to deployment.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Who Are the Reserves?

  • Chapter Three

    Achieving Individual Medical Readiness

  • Chapter Four

    Are DoD Medical Readiness Standards Sufficient for Military Operations?

  • Chapter Five

    Alternative Approaches for Meeting Medical and Dental Readiness Requirements

  • Chapter Six

    The Cost of Achieving Medical and Dental Readiness

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Key Recommendations for Improving Reserve Individual Medical Readiness

  • Appendix A

    Active Component and Selected Reserve End Strength

  • Appendix B

    Active Component and Reserve Component Physicians and Dentists as a Percentage of the Total End Strength

  • Appendix C

    Information and Systems Available to Members and Commanders for Tracking IMR Requirements and Compliance

  • Appendix D

    Army First-Term Dental Readiness

  • Appendix E

    Active Component Statistics.

  • Appendix F

    Active Component Individual Medical Readiness Rates

  • Appendix G

    Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Treatment for Demobilizing Reserve Component Members

  • Supplementary Material

    Matrix: Detailed Requirements for Meeting Individual Medical Readiness Requirements Across DoD

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted jointly by the Center for Military Health Policy Research, a RAND Health program, and the Forces and Resources Policy Center, a RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) program. NDRI is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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