SPECIAL BENEFICIARY CLASSES
The health resources described in this chapter have been established and developed apart from the resources available to the gen eral population, and their use is limited to special classes who are eligible by virtue of their legal or social status. These classes include military personnel, veterans, Indians, and the beneficiaries, mostly seamen, of the United States Public Health Service hospital system. Excluded from consideration are the specialized systems or programs of care that are available to persons in certain disease categories, such as tuberculosis and mental illness, and the programs for the care of indigents.
The special classes discussed are beneficiaries of services provided by the federal government. Members of these classes represented nearly one sixth of the population in 1950, but in some classes, especially the veterans group, not all members were eligible for service in federal facilities. A daily average of one out of eleven patients in the nation's hospitals in 1950 was a member of one of these special beneficiary classes. To provide services for them there were nearly 200,000 persons employed in more than 500 hospitals with about 168,000 beds, and more than 1,000 outpatient facilities and other installations. About 59 per cent of the federal health budget in the fiscal year 1950 was devoted to their inpatient and outpatient care, and an additional 14 per cent was obligated for hospital construction.
The mission of the military health services is to conserve the strength of the armed forces. In time of war or major catastrophe there are certain environmental and administrative factors which modify the application of medical practice. Among these factors are the strategy of troop movements, the geography of combat, the numerical mass of casualties, and the specific problems of surface or submarine existence or the human response to the supersonic speed of aircraft. The task of providing health services in a military setting requires a unique organization of health resources.____________________