Naval Hospital Jacksonville partners with private-sector hospitals to maintain advanced skills

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Story by Yan Kennon on 10/10/2018
Naval Hospital Jacksonville has developed innovative partnerships with private-sector health systems to maintain clinicians' advanced life-saving skills and to continue to provide warfighters with state-of-the-art medical care.

The partnerships enable Navy clinicians to provide care to patients at locations including St. Vincent's HealthCare, a not-for-profit health system in northeast Florida; and UF Health, an academic medical center in Jacksonville.

"This is a unique partnership between a military hospital and private-sector health systems, with an ability to flex as our staffing evolves," said Capt. Matthew Case, Naval Hospital Jacksonville commander and Navy Medicine Readiness & Training Command Jacksonville commanding officer.

Cmdr. Luke Fifer, M.D. successfully performed a robotically-assisted surgery at St. Vincent's on March 20 to remove part of a patient's kidney that had cancer. The partial nephrectomy saved the Jacksonville man's kidney, while removing the tumor.

"These partnerships give our Navy surgeons, nurses and corpsmen an opportunity to maintain our advanced life-saving skills, with more complex cases," Fifer said. "This helps preserve our ability to save lives in combat theaters, and also strengthens our relationship with the local community."

Fifer, a board-certified urologist, developed robotic surgery skills during a fellowship in robotics/endourology at the University of North Carolina. While NH Jacksonville doesn't have robotic surgery capabilities, Fifer has maintained those skills by treating patients using the equipment at St. Vincent's.

The new partnerships expand opportunities for Fifer and other physicians, nurses, and hospital corpsmen at NH Jacksonville to maintain their advanced skills with higher-acuity patients as well as the trauma skills needed for battlefield medicine.

Navy physicians have been treating surgical and trauma patients at both Jacksonville private-sector health systems for about a year. In August, NH Jacksonville nurses and corpsmen began rotations in UF Health's Emergency Department, as well as operating room rotations at St. Vincent's. Other partnerships between NH Jacksonville and area health systems are in development.

Naval Hospital Jacksonville and Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Jacksonville deliver quality health care, in an integrated system of readiness and health. NH Jacksonville includes five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. It serves 163,000 active-duty and retired sailors, Marines, soldiers, airmen, guardsmen, and their families, including 84,000 patients who are enrolled with a primary care manager. To find out more, visit

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