Thursday, February 3, 2011

Leaders brief BRAC, new logo unveiled

Leaders from the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region Medical, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center, briefed WRAMC staff concerning the latest information regarding Base Realignment and Closure, integration and transition during town halls yesterday in Heaton Pavilion’s Joel Auditorium.

The logo for the military health care system in the National Capital Area, which will include the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Va., was also unveiled during the town halls.

Deputy Commander for JTF-CapMed, Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Jones, explained where construction is on the WRNMMC and FBCH facilities, both slated to be finished this summer, as well as plans for moving patients and resources into the new hospitals. Those moves are expected to begin in August, or sooner if construction progresses ahead of schedule.

The 2005 BRAC law calls for WRAMC closure and its staff and functions relocated to WRNMMC and FBCH by Sept. 15, 2011.

Jones said as the intake of patients ‘‘ramp down” at Walter Reed in the coming months, patient intake at NNMC will ‘‘ramp up” in the coming months.

In August, those wounded warriors and patients still at WRAMC will move to either WRNMMC or FBCH. Jones said inpatients will only be moved to Bethesda.

The general added that a few months before the actual moves, staff will be briefed on the relocation process, and there will be orientations and tours of the new hospitals at Bethesda and Fort Belvoir.

He added that employees should be focused on taking their personal items, such as plants, certificates, pictures, etc., home because government movers will not relocate them to the new facilities.

‘‘We’re here to work with you, [and] we’re here to support you,” Jones said.

Navy Capt. David A. Bitoni, chief of staff for integration and transition at Bethesda, briefed staff on construction of WRNMMC at Bethesda, saying that ‘‘we’re building a hospital while continuing to operate a hospital.”

The ribbon was cut in December for two buildings at Bethesda that will provide care to military personnel and their families — the America Building and the Arrowhead Building, Bitoni explained. The America Building is a new six-floor outpatient clinic and cancer treatment center, and the Arrowhead Building is an inpatient addition to the hospital at Bethesda. The Arrowhead Building will house the Emergency Department, Nuclear Medicine, Intensive Care Unit and the Cardiovascular Health and Interventional Radiology Center.

Bitoni added that construction is steadily progressing on other patient care, lodging, parking and support facilities at Bethesda. He said the WRNMMC will be the ‘‘beacon of Department of Defense health care, and possibly the beacon of health care for the nation.”

Designers of the new logo for the National Capital Area health care system to include WRNMMC and FBCH, said factors that went into its design included preserving the legacies of WRAMC and NNMC of providing world-class health care, while focusing on ‘‘jointness” and the future. The logo includes a purple cross and picture of the U.S. Capitol.

Colonel Charles W. Callahan, NNMC’s deputy commander and chief of staff, said ‘‘billions” of dollars have gone into construction of WRNMMC and FBCH to make them state-of-the-art world-class health care facilities. He encouraged staffs to continue to work together to make integration and transition a success, and remain focused on the primary mission — delivering the highest quality of care to patients.

More information concerning integration and transition is on the JTF-CapMed website at https:⁄⁄jtfcapmedonline.amedd.army.mil⁄jtf⁄bracportal.