Medical discusses pharmaceutical support with Defense Health Agency team

By Shaun Eagan DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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A team from the Defense Health Agency learned about the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Medical supply chain’s pharmaceutical operations during a visit Jan. 24.

Medical’s leadership hosted Dr. David Bobb, DHA pharmacy operations’ division chief, Air Force Col. Markus Gmehlin, DHA pharmacy operations’ division deputy chief, and pharmacy consultants for each military service’s surgeon general in Philadelphia to discuss pharmaceutical programs, capabilities and collaborative initiatives.

­“Having [Bobb] visit was important because he provides guidance and direction on DHA’s pharmacy operations, representing all military treatment facilities worldwide,” Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Underhill, Medical Customer Pharmacy Operations Center chief, said. “Dr. Bobb provided critical information regarding DHA’s way ahead and potential shifts in the way they do business.”

DHA is a joint, integrated combat support agency that enables the Army, Navy and Air Force to provide a “medically ready force and a ready medical force” to Combatant Commands in both peacetime and wartime, according to its website. The agency is currently undergoing changes as DHA assumes responsibility for military treatment facilities.

The Medical supply chain is the medical logistics provider for the Department of Defense and has collaborated with DHA since 2013.

“As everybody knows, there are a lot of changes and a lot of transitions going on with DHA,” Bobb said. “I’m really glad that we have this opportunity to get together and just talk. This is my first time I have ever been to DLA [Troop Support]…we’re looking forward to being here and having great discussions.”

The meeting not only opened dialogue on Medical’s programs and pricing methods, but also helped DHA understand how Medical can support their requirement changes throughout the transition.

“We see ourselves as an enabler to you and to your team and we want to partner with you along with all these initiatives…that helps you bring about that change,” Army Col. Matthew Voyles, Medical supply chain director, said. “We’ll continue to look forward to partnering and being a part of that solution.”

This visit comes almost two weeks after DHA’s Combat Support Agency assistant director, Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, visited DLA Troop Support to talk about requirements and potential partnership opportunities.

Underhill thinks this meeting can improve the partnership moving forward and improve pharmacy operations for the military.

“The ability to look a partner in the eye and tell them we want to help and are prepared to support their efforts is critical,” Underhill said. “This [meeting] hopefully paves the way for future meetings and enhanced support to DHA.”