Thursday, October 28, 2010
Photo by Craig Coleman
“As far as helping [warriors] transition to the next phase in their life, they will see no change,“ explained Lt. Col. Jean Jones, senior nurse case manager for WTB. “The change they will see will be mostly aesthetic as we will be on a different campus with newer facilities and an integrated staff [at Bethesda]… The WTB will remain an all-Army asset. The triad of care concept [primary care manager, nurse case manager and squad leader] will not change, and we will maintain the same standards of care that the warriors receive now at the WTB.“
The WTB is planning to move around 600 wounded, ill, and injured warriors, in addition to 300 cadre to WRNMMC or the new FBCH within a detailed and comprehensive four-phase operation. The timeline for the north/south moves centers around the completion of infrastructure at both locations, but are tentatively scheduled for the end of August 2011.
“I do know we will not move warriors until everything by function is ready,“ said Maj. Barry Brinker, brigade operations officer. “There will be no disparity of care between north and south campuses, just different functions.“
Jones added the decision on where a warrior will move to is “all based on medical necessity. If the best person or medical service to care for the warrior is at Fort Belvoir, then the warrior will go there. If the best person or medical service to care for the warrior is at WRNMMC, then the warrior will go to that facility.“
She went on to explain that the significant trauma patients will go north to the new Walter Reed. Both facilities will house many of the same services for warriors and their families, such as the Soldier Family Assistance Center and Warrior Clinic (though the clinic at Bethesda will be integrated with the other military services). There is a Military Advanced Training Center-type facility also being built at the new Walter Reed. Brinker added that indeed the same services will be provided (such as the SFAC), but there is still some discussion as to what it will all look like.
Both campuses are building new facilities to house warriors with 350 on-post rooms for outpatients, and 150 for non-medical attendants, at the new Walter Reed alone.
“There will be appropriate housing for everybody regardless of on-or off-post,“ Brinker said, noting the enhanced discharge process and warrior lifecycle model currently being used at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to ensure warriors are in the lodging facility that meets their needs.
The process provides a large level of support to warriors as they transition from inpatient to outpatient status and most receive lodging close to their military treatment facility. As the warrior progresses with their care and goals, the WTB enables the warrior to begin to more independently manage their care and help build both skill sets and confidence so that the warrior can feel comfortable living further away from a MTF. When this is accomplished and the warrior becomes more independent, the WTB will help find appropriate off-post lodging, explained Jones.
Representatives from the Fort Belvoir Transportation Office have toured the Walter Reed barracks and facilities. The plan is to move the warriors over two weekends; one weekend dedicated to the move north, the other weekend, south. All inpatients will move to the new Walter Reed under the hospital's own BRAC timeline.
“I'm not worried because we have our plans,“ Brinker said. “We've laid out by function how we are going to move and we know what we need to do to get there…the last day here, the warrior is going to have the same level of care as the first day at their new campus.
“ In addition to moving units north and south, the WTB will be standing up a battalion headquarters at Fort Belvoir, as well as two company-sized Warrior Transition Units and a remote care unit for warriors whose care can be managed remotely. The Bethesda campus will house two WTUs, the reception company, and a brigade headquarters. “There is a lot to do, but we know what to do,“ he said. “Everybody has the warriors' best interests in mind, whether it's Army, Marines, Navy, or Air Force.“
“We all know we have a mission,“ Jones agreed. “That mission is to provide world-class care. Everyone involved knows that that mission is a no-fail mission.“