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News Release


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 473-05
May 13, 2005

Fact Sheet Medical BRAC Recommendations for the National Capital Region

The 2005 BRAC recommendations afford this department the opportunity to transform and improve how medical care will be delivered to the departments 9.1 million beneficiaries in the 21st Century.

 

BRAC 2005 medical recommendations include a number of realignments and consolidations of military medical activities and facilities. These initiatives follow the overall BRAC rationale and goals. In all instances, improving access to care for beneficiaries was a priority consideration; other considerations included military value, quality of care, and opportunities for efficiency through joint organizational solutions.

 

Military Health System activities evaluated in the BRAC 2005 process included patient care facilities, education and training activities, and research, development and acquisition activities; in all, 234 military medical activities were evaluated.

The Realignment

Establish the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) at Bethesda, Md., as a 300-bed Medical Center with the full range of intensive and complex specialty and subspecialty medical services, including specialized facilities for the most seriously war injured. This facility will serve as the U. S. militarys worldwide tertiary referral center for casualty and beneficiary care.

Construct a large Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va., a 165-bed facility jointly staffed facility focused on family and community medicine, especially to serve the large number of military beneficiaries in the southern-most areas of the National Capital Region.

Convert the 89th Medical Group at Andrews Air Force Base to a clinic with ambulatory surgery capability and realign some staff to the new WRNMMC and new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

Realign Walter Reed Army Medical Center, D.C., by assigning management, clinical, and training activities to the new WRNMMC and the new community hospital at Fort Belvoir. Research and Development activities will relocate and form Centers of Excellence at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., or Fort Detrick, Md.

Realign the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology by moving the DNA registry and the Medical Examiners functions to Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Del.; the technician training functions to Fort Sam Houston, Tex.; the museum to WRNMMC, and outsource non-military essential pathology activities.

Maintain existing military outpatient capabilities at Fort Myer, Bolling Air Force Base, the Pentagon and other military clinics in the surrounding NCR.

The substantial construction required for this recommendation will result in major investments in new facilities occurring after 2008.

Why?

These realignment actions for the NCR create a single world class, jointly staffed medical center complex for support of the troops and their families.

They will improve the use of military infrastructure by fully utilizing newly constructed inpatient capacity at Bethesda, while better serving our beneficiary population with a new community hospital at Fort Belvoir. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center was opened in 1977 with a designed capacity of 1200 beds. The Bethesda National Naval Medical Center was opened in 1980 with a designed capacity of 450 beds and rehabilitated in 1995. Andrews was opened in 1958 with a design capacity 250 beds. Today these facilities use each day, on average, only a fraction of their available beds; 189 (Walter Reed), 113 (Bethesda) and 33 (Andrews).

These realignment actions afford better placement of healthcare delivery capabilities in the National Capital Region. Demographics show that the beneficiary population has been moving into Northern Virginia for the past several years - straining the capabilities of the current DeWitt Army Community Hospital. The creation of a new, jointly staffed, state-of-the-art community hospital at Fort Belvoir delivers enhanced services to the Northern Virginia military community.

Investing and modernizing key military infrastructure will enhance the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the Military Health System. This realignment of healthcare is estimated to cost $988 million, and will provide the DoD with an enduring annual savings of approximately $100 million with an estimated savings of $301 million above the implementation costs over the next 20 years.

Advantages

The amount of healthcare provided through military facilities in the National Capital Region will remain the same, with markedly improved access for our beneficiaries, particularly in the growing Northern Virginia area.

Joint staffing of these hospitals will bring together the very best expertise found in Army, Navy, and Air Force medicine to better serve our military men and women, especially those returning from the field critically ill or injured.

We will combine two facilities operating at less than full capacity into one fully utilized, world-class military healthcare complex.

This move also allows us to better leverage both the training capabilities resident in the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences on the same campus and the research leadership of the National Institutes of Health immediately across the street to offer a unique and fully integrated military platform for healthcare, education, and research.

This action will enhance the seamless care we've seen delivered from jointly staffed facilities in Iraq through the jointly staffed Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to the United States.

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