Army Initiates Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) Improvements

Wednesday May 11, 2011

What it is?

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have generated over the past ten years a significant number of Soldiers with multiple and complex medical conditions that require a disability evaluation.

What the Army has done?

The U.S. Army and Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) implemented an expansion strategy on April 1, 2011, to deploy an augmentation team comprised of activated Reserve Component Soldiers and TRICARE Management Activity support contractors to Dwight. D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Ga. The augmentation team supplements existing resources at the medical center and enhances the Army's ability to provide timely, quality and compassionate Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) disability processing for Soldiers. The expansion also helps ensure the Army has adequate personnel and resources available to process MEB cases and enhance continuity of care so Soldiers do not lose entitlements or benefits.

The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) is another initiative the Army, Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) collaborated on to improve the disability process. The IDES, which began as a pilot program in the National Capitol Region in 2007, combines the separate rating systems used by the Army and VA into a single disability rating that the VA prepares for use by both departments. The Army will deploy IDES to all of its military treatment facilities by the end of the fiscal year. The Army also recently opened a new Reserve Component Soldier Medical Support Center in Pinellas Park, Fla., to transform and improve the disability evaluation process for Reserve Component Soldiers.

What does the Army have planned for the future?

The Electronic Medical Evaluation Board (eMEB) is another initiative the Army recently implemented to enhance the MEB process for Soldiers. In the future, an Electronic Physical Evaluation Board (EPEB) will be added to enhance the disability evaluation process even more to allow for the seamless transfer of Soldiers' medical information between the Army and VA.

Why is improving the MEB process important to the Army?

The Army and MEDCOM want wounded, ill and injured Soldiers to get the care they need at the right time and right place. The improvements streamline the MEB process; helps Army meet current and future demand for MEBs; enhances continuity of care and benefits entitlement for Soldiers; promotes and supports readiness and the Army mission "To Conserve the Fighting Strength".

Resources:

The Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy

DOD and VA Begin Pilot Disability Evaluation System

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