Story by Emily Yeh on 01/04/2019JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. As 2019 begins, it is again time to reflect on significant events that occurred at Regional Health Command-Pacific last year.
Similar to previous years, RHC-P and its subordinate units contributed to the Army's No. 1 priority readiness. Region also supported health care delivery while developing organizations, leaders and Soldiers working toward a mission to provide medically ready forces and ready medical forces with a vision of being the premier health force, best-trained and equipped to support the nation's call.
With over 229,000 beneficiaries, the Region is a hub for health care services including outpatient clinic visits, laboratory procedures, pharmacy prescription fills, immunizations, inpatient care and radiology procedures. Dental procedures, veterinary services and ensuring the health readiness of our deploying personnel round out the Region's everyday functions.
Over the summer, RHC-P saw two major changes in leadership. Brig. Gen. Dennis P. LeMaster took command of RHC-P, while Command Sergeant Maj. Clark J. Charpentier assumed responsibility as the senior enlisted advisor. RHC-P also welcomed a new Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Michael L. Place.
The RHC-P command also repositioned its headquarters location from Hawaii to JBLM, continuing the support of responsive medical capabilities to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Army Pacific and I Corps.
During 2018, RHC-P's forces remained healthy and prepared to meet any challenge.
Competitions such as the Pacific Regional Trials, Pacific Best Medic and Pacific Best Warrior Competition further the Region's success by challenging Soldiers during military drills or sporting events. These competitions not only strengthen physical strength, but also build mental resolve.
The Pacific Regional Trials saw about 100 wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans compete in a multi-sporting event representing 12 Warrior Transition Battalions from across the Pacific, Atlantic, and Central regions. The Pacific Best Medic Competition saw competitors from Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan and Korea compete in both physical and mental exercises needed to succeed as a medic on the battlefield.
Although competitions coupled with training are key components contributing to a ready state, global health engagements were also key to Region's readiness posture.
Over the past three years the Region has deployed on over 170 missions, and in 2018, efforts continued to provide these critical missions to further enhance health care outcomes in the Indo-Pacific region.
GHE highlights include the opening of a Cambodia blood donor center in partnership with RHC-P's military treatment facilities and units, Indo-Pacific and USARPAC. The Cambodia mission marked the grand opening of two blood donor centers, paving the way for the next step, accreditation. Additionally, a nine-person team from RHC-P, Madigan Army Medical Center and the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to conduct a second clinical laboratory and bio-preparedness subject matter expert exchange.
These missions exemplify how the Region's GHEs provide the opportunity to strengthen relationships with partner nations and other key stakeholders.
HEALTH CARE DELIVERY
The Region's efforts to optimize the health of our beneficiaries by focusing on access, prevention, wellness and health care delivery was another priority in 2018.
Every year, MTFs within the Pacific region reach out to beneficiaries to educate about the importance of receiving relevant and timely care. Access to care is also at the forefront of our patient care. For example, this year, flu shot clinics were again held across the Region, with LeMaster leading the charge, receiving his vaccination at one of the MTFs.
In 2018, Tricare held an open season for the first time. This change allowed beneficiaries to select plans to meet their needs, and their household budgets. The vision and dental programs were also revamped with the addition of more plans.
Place provided the opening remarks during the Region's 7th annual Pacific Behavioral Health Summit. The annual summit brings together military and community health care professionals to share the latest behavioral health medical and technological innovations, research topics and approaches to care, improving access to care for beneficiaries.
Each year the Region takes pride in ongoing efforts to develop civilian and Soldier leaders because people are the foundation of the Region's success and the key to the future.
LeMaster held a senior leader symposium, bringing together commanders from the Pacific medical arena. During the two-day symposium, participants worked together to refine the RHC-P campaign plan, while also participating in sessions on operationalizing readiness, rapid hiring, leader development, performance planning, MHS GENESIS, and congressional updates on the National Defense Authorization Acts of 2017 and 2019.
Retirees are also a key component of the people who round out this great region. In October 2018, a retiree appreciation event was held in Hawaii to honor and recognize those who have served and continue to serve the military and the community.
HAWAII eMSM AND PUGET SOUND MHS
Lastly, we cannot forget our regional partners, the Puget Sound Military Health System and Hawaii enhanced Multi-Market System, who are co-located at the two headquarters locations and support medical assets for all Services. Both offices contribute to the Army Medicine and RHC-P missions throughout the year.
LeMaster is the market manager for the Puget Sound MHS, while Place is the market manager for the Hawaii eMSM. LeMaster and Place oversee the efficient use of the joint service medical resources, so patients can access care when they need it, in the most efficient way possible, and at the best cost.
Under the Puget Sound MHS, projects such as the JBLM medical and dental sleep apnea team formed. The team sought to reduce cost and increase readiness for active-duty service members by increasing deployability through use of obstructive sleep apena devices other than a CPAP machine. The efforts were recognized by U.S. Army Medical Command with a Wolf Pack Award.
In 2018, the Hawaii eMSM continued to promote an unrivaled experience of care by leveraging partnerships, technology and resources, while fostering a ready force and healthy, resilient Ohana.
Some highlights include the continuation of a physical therapist initiative which provides inpatient and outpatient services to beneficiaries in MTFs across all Services. The Hawaii eMSM also received accolades for the implementation and management of several programs such as tele-behavioral health capabilities, consolidation of appointment systems into one central phone line and working groups who supported the Rim of the Pacific Exercise.
To learn more about RHC-P and to read our stories go to www.army.mil/RHCPacific or connect with us at www.facebook.com/RegionalHealthCommandPacific
RHC-P oversees a premier medical force in the Indo-Pacific region, covering 36 nations across 16 time zones and comprised of nine commands - Bassett Army Community Hospital, Madigan Army Medical Center, Medical Department Activity Japan, MEDDAC-Korea, Tripler Army Medical Center, U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks, the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support), as well as Dental Health Command Pacific and Public Health Command Pacific.
One team United across the Pacific