Half of US Military Bases in ‘Health Care Deserts’: Analysis

Half of US military installations have been found to be situated in “health care deserts”  where off-base medical services are hard to find.

An NPR analysis revealed that around 200 military bases are located within federally designated health professional shortage areas or medically underserved areas.

It also noted that one in three US troops and their families live in these so-called primary health care deserts.

According to Eileen Huck of the National Military Family Association, it is important for the US military to ensure proper health care access in all of its bases as its active-duty members and their families often do not get to choose where they will be stationed.

“It’s incumbent on the military to make sure that when you send a family to a location, the support and resources are available to take care of them. And that obviously includes health care,” she said.

‘Mental Health Care and Maternity Care Deserts’

The NPR analysis found that three out of four bases in primary care deserts are also in either a mental health care desert, a maternity care desert, or both.

This means hundreds of troops and their families living in barracks will most likely find access to proper mental health care and maternal care very challenging.

The NPR said it based its assessment on the list of mental health care shortage areas and maternity care shortage areas produced by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the March of Dimes, respectively.

It covers military bases in the US, Puerto Rico, and Guam that are larger than 10 acres (4 hectares) and have a facility replacement value of at least $10 million.

The US National Guard is excluded from the analysis.

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