MILITARY

Hagel: Military medical system is 'average,' needs improvement

  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, accompanied by Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, briefs reporters at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, on the military health care system. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, accompanied by Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, briefs reporters at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, on the military health care system. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)  (The Associated Press)

  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, on the military health care system. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, on the military health care system. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)  (The Associated Press)

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is directing military medical officials to show within 45 days how they will improve care, patient safety and access to treatment at under-achieving military health care facilities.

Hagel released findings Wednesday of a 90-day review of the health care system, serving 9.6 million active-duty troops, their families and retirees. The review was prompted by an investigation into allegations of treatment delays at Veterans Affairs facilities.

He says the military health care system is comparable to average private sector care, but adds that while it has pockets of excellence it also has gaps in care.

He directed military officials to write a detailed plan by the end of the year to fix and track uneven performance across the military health facilities.