Thursday, November 1, 2007

Commander’s Column

The formation of Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical has been ordered by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Gordon England . Its was mandated to attain Initial Operating Capablility (IOC) 1 October 2007 and must achieve Full Operating Capability (FOC) by 30 September 2008.

JTF CapMed is what is known as a Standing Joint Task Force and it reports directly to the Secretary of Defense through the Deputy Secretary of Defense. It was created so there would be a senior medical officer in the National Capital Region (NCR) with responsibility for the effective and efficient delivery of joint world-class healthcare in the region, to guide the execution of healthcare BRAC Law changes and to prepare for a better regional military medical disaster response system. When it reaches its full operating capability, the Headquarters staff will be comprised of approximately 63 military, 43 civilian, and 43 contractors.

Rear Admiral John Mateczun was selected as the JTF CapMed Commander. The selection was based on his extensive background in command, staff and operational medicine leadership positions and knowledge of the NCR healthcare system. He has significant managerial and leadership experience and is particularly skilled at focusing groups and individuals on a common set of priorities and goals. He is adept at bringing about consensus on the courses of action required to attain intended outcomes. Some of his previous positions include: Joint Staff Surgeon, Commander of the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Navy Medicine, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Surgeon General, and Director of the Military Health System Office of Transformation.

Though Admiral Mateczun is a Navy officer, as a Joint Force Commander he represents all Services. The DoD memorandum establishing the JTF CapMed and appointing Rear Admiral Mateczun as the Commander directed each of the Services to assign a Component Commander responsible for its regional medical resources in the National Capital Area under the command and control of the JTF Commander. JTF CapMed will have tactical control of all military healthcare resources in the NCR . The integration of NNMC and WRAMC is a key component of the BRAC changes and a JTF CapMed priority. Integration of the two medical centers is now a joint endeavor and Navy, Air Force and Army Component Commanders will work together in the planning process. Coordination with VA and other federal agencies along with civilian institution participation in NCR care are also key parts of the regional concept of operations for the JTF.

The Department of Defense has been evaluating various military healthcare organizational structures, including Joint Medical Commands, a Defense Health Agency and Executive Agency models. A Joint Command in the NCR was determined to be the best model to integrate the needs of ongoing casualty care, massive BRAC related construction projects at Bethesda and Fort Belvoir, and all of the personnel changes related to the BRAC law.

The future Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is scheduled to open at Bethesda in 2011. JTF CapMed success will be measured by the effectiveness of processes, practices and procedures to oversee, manage and direct healthcare delivery within the NCR while executing the NCR transition plan directed by BRAC including extensive military construction and personnel changes within the region, particularly those personnel from WRAMC moving to the WRNMMC and DeWitt Army Medical Center at Fort Belvoir. This will require development of a detailed joint transition plan to merge the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Importantly, at no time throughout the construction phase of this enormous undertaking will the quality of patient care, especially the care of casualties, or family support be disrupted.

Rear Admiral Mateczun has published his Guidance to the component commanders within the NCR.

Read more about the JTF CapMed on the front page.

Commander sends,