The secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff's No. 1 priority is readiness, and being medically ready is critical to ensuring Total Force deployability -- a strategic part of the globally integrated operations.

In support of Army Medicine's effort in development and implementation of the medical readiness initiative, the Army will field the new Tri-Service Department of Defense Periodic Health Assessment tool on Dec. 31.

The DoD PHA consists of a standardized question set, designed to identify outstanding DoD Individual Medical Readiness requirements and health care screening elements, which will ultimately allow providers from any service to complete a PHA for any DoD service member.

The Tri-Service DoD PHA is the Phase III of the Medical Readiness Portal implementation and is scheduled to occur Dec. 31. Phase I and Phase II were completed in June 2016 and October 2016.

According to Lt. Col. Hyun J. Kang, chief of Operational Medicine at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, the new DoD PHA will involve the medical support teams.

"With the new process, support staff can provide screening prior to the provider assessing the service member and document their findings -- a procedure not included in the current PHA system," Kang said.

Another feature of the DoD PHA is that it's a defense-wide assessment tool, which will be the same regardless of the service branch.

All services will now have the ability to provide the PHA to any service member, which will ensure defense-wide consistency.

Although the new DoD PHA process doesn't take effect until Jan. 1, Kang urges service members -- who are due their PHAs in December, January and February -- to get it done before Dec. 31 to avoid the rush and lengthier processing period.

"As we begin using the DoD PHA format, additional steps will be required from the service members, including the mental health evaluations," Kang said.

"Here at Fort Meade, we have large numbers of Soldiers who are falling behind on medical and dental readiness," Kang said. "The new PHA will be very comprehensive compared to the current process, and I highly encourage those who are due in the next 90 days to have their PHAs completed by [Dec. 29]."

Improving and sustaining readiness is the benchmark for everything we do. This medical readiness transformation will continue to support the secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff's No. 1 mission -- readiness.

The DoD PHA will increase transparencies in medical readiness and communication between providers and commanders at all levels.

For additional information and processes on medical and dental readiness, contact Fort Meade Operational Medicine at:
◾Fort Meade Army Periodic Health Assessment: 301-677-8704
◾Fort Meade Navy Periodic Health Assessment: 301-677-8816
◾Fort Meade Air Force Periodic Health Assessment: 301-677-8673
◾Epes Dental Clinic: 301-677-6078/6983