Woodson Praises Military’s Medical Professionals
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2011 Military medical professionals posted in combat theaters are skilled, patriotic, and make sacrifices by serving in harm’s way, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs told members of Congress here today.
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, who advises the defense secretary on medical issues, testified before the House Appropriations Committee Defense Health Program hearing for the fiscal 2011 and 2012 budgets.
Emphasizing the strides military medicine has made in 2011 and the goals for 2012, Woodson characterized the commitment of a medical professional –- an Army nurse, Capt. Joshua McClimins, a 32-year-old husband and father of two on his second deployment to the 356th Combat Support Hospital in Afghanistan.
On April 22, McClimins was killed in Afghanistan by indirect fire, Woodson said. At the memorial service, Woodson said, members of McClimins’ unit were deeply saddened.
“But these true professionals ‘soldiered on’ and continued their medical-mission support of other brothers and sisters in harm’s way,” he said.
Such medical professionals, along with improved public health and preventive medical strategies, Woodson said, have aided in the reduction of disease and injuries across the military.
And, the likelihood of survival for service members wounded in combat after medics arrive “remains at historic and unmatched levels,” he said.
Seriously wounded service members who require long-term care receive the “finest, evidence-based, medical service that is available in the country,” Woodson said.
“Thanks to the continued support of Congress and this committee, we are accelerating the delivery of our findings from the laboratory bench to the battlefield, to include prevention, diagnosis and treatment of both the visible and invisible wounds of war,” he said.
The military’s medical system works closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to coordinate the disability evaluation process, sharing personnel and health information, and working together to establish electronic health records, Woodson said.
The Defense Department’s efficiencies initiative, he said, aims to reduce overhead costs, eliminate redundant functions and distribute resources to better support service members.
The proposals in the fiscal 2012 budget also include manageable cost growth, Woodson said, adding that DOD’s efficiencies initiative is a shared responsibility across the department.
“Our proposed budget keeps fidelity within our core principles,” Woodson said. “We will never lose our commitment to the members of our armed forces.”
The military health care system “is a vibrant, learning organization,” he added, that’s “capable of self-improvement and rapid incorporation of lessons learned in both peacetime and [in] combat.”