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Release No: 677-94
December 07, 1994


Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Reeder presented today the Vice President's Hammer award to the DeWitt Army Community Hospital Primary Care Reinvention Team as the Department of Defense's Hero of Reinvention at an interagency ceremony.

The Primary Care Reinvention Team for northern Virginia was charted by the Army Surgeon General in January 1993. Its mission was to revolutionize the delivery of primary care services for the Department of Defense beneficiaries in northern Virginia. Col. Warren A. Todd Jr., commander of Fort Belvoir's DeWitt Army Community Hospital, was appointed as the Process Action Team leader for this reinvention initiative. The reinvention has resulted in an Army hospital being transformed from an inaccessible, inefficient, and antiquated facility into what is today the hub of a primary care delivery network that services Department of Defense beneficiaries with high quality, accessible, cost effective primary care.

The primary care system was reinvented with the establishment and integration of government-operated, community-based primary care clinics in northern Virginia. The system serves 140,000 beneficiaries through a well-defined network which includes community-based clinics at Fort Belvoir, Vint Hill Farms Station, Fort Meyer, Woodbridge, Burke and Fairfax. The Primary Care service is wellness-oriented, patient-focused and comprehensive. In addition to traditional primary care services, each site provides mental health and women's' health services together with an integrated health care advice/appointment system.

These outlying clinics serve as extensions of the supporting hospital, providing convenient "one-stop shopping" which maximizes access for service members, retirees and their families. Customers register for care at a primary care site close to their home or place of employment. Assignment to a multidisciplinary primary care team of family practitioners, internists, pediatricians, physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners ensures continuity of care and enhances patient satisfaction.

Clinic hours have been expanded by 20 percent to take into account the commuter patterns common to many families in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The reinvented system increases customer capacity by 14 percent, while providing at least $1 million in annual savings to the government.

Ultimately this is a system that will work better and cost less by putting customers first. It is the physical realization of a vision that strives to make the DeWitt Health Care System the system of choice in an environment that places a premium on access, quality and value.

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