Fort Drum Community
WACH’s RCH-C visit highlightS enhanced services for beneficiaries
Story by Jalonda Garrison on 01/17/2019
Weed Army Community Hospital’s staff welcome Brig. Gen. Jeffrey J. Johnson, Commanding General of Regional Health Command-Central, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph L. Cecil, RHC-C CSM, for a return tour of its footprints showcasing the many enhancements executed in order to service the Soldiers, Retirees and Family members of Fort Irwin Jan 10.
“I am more than excited having the opportunity as the Regional Commanding General to figure out how do we chart the future for how we care for patients; and how we ensure that when the call goes out our health professionals are going to be ready,” said Johnson.
During Johnson’s previous visit, he provided an in depth view of his priorities. These priorities included how Weed Army Community Hospital can incorporate technology based services for both healthcare delivery and provider training. Integrating Virtual Health to WACH’s health services will better enhance the capabilities here to maintain a Ready Medical Force; while sustaining the total Army as a Medically Ready Force.
Speaking to a packed theater during a Town Hall this visit he discussed the importance of being able to define and articulate the clinical readiness for members who are wearing the uniform to do their wartime mission. He went on to express how he was encouraged by the conversations he heard inside the organization.
“You’ve heard what the Region’s priorities are, and you’ve figured out how they apply to Weed Army Community Hospital and Fort Irwin,” said Johnson.
WACH established a team to assess the readiness of Soldiers in the healthcare profession by evaluating their skills based on the Individual Critical Task List. ICTL is a tool used to identify gaps between the clinical skills and the wartime medical skills of healthcare professionals in order to take necessary actions to adjust and improve their ability to be a “Ready Medical Force.”
“For my entire career I have never been able to go to a [non-medical commander] and be able to say, Sir/Ma’am let me tell you about those health professionals in your formation, how they are ready or not ready to do their mission,” said Johnson, “All of my conversations with those commanders have been based upon the trust that commander has had in me as his surgeon.”
According to Johnson’s command priorities the ability to measure the wartime clinical readiness of our providers with an objective, standardized approach is absolutely crucial to military medical Readiness.
“Now we are on the threshold of having something quantitative to be able to define what that looks like. That’s a big deal for our warfighters,” said Johnson.
WACH has made additional enhancements to incorporate technology based services in an effort to offer better care to its beneficiaries; including the Soldiers training at the National Training Center. These services include utilizing Virtual Health from the Emergency Department to Soldiers out in “The Box,” a 1,200 square mile terrain used to train our warfighters to be combat ready.
“How do we leverage the opportunity [of virtual health] which includes some technology,” asked Johnson?
The ability to connect a 68W, combat medic, virtually to a doctor in real time to translate clinical information affords units the ability to sustain combat power and preserve the fighting strength.
Another component is providing healthcare professions stationed at WACH the opportunity to go out with Active, Reserve and National Guard units to not only just fight as a synchronized, integrated team, but to train together as well. This will afford Soldiers in the healthcare field the ability to develop a Total Army medical capability to meet the speed and volume required in today’s changing character of war.
Johnson was also able to recognize Capt. Jason R. Webb, Registered Nurse on the Medical Surgical Ward at WACH, who has already proven that he is an exceptional team member by giving him a Commander’s coin. Within Webb’s first two months assigned to WACH he created a standard operating procedure for central line care and trained the entire Medical Surgical Ward nursing team to care for infants with peripherally inserted central catheter lines for long term antibiotic therapy. This was a previous gap in the team’s knowledge base that was identified and remedied in support of regional priorities.
“How do we best regulate the patient care that is taking place inside RHC-Central with all of the assets,” asked Johnson?
Having members like Webb on WACH’s team, integrating technology based services to reach out to other Military Treatment Facilities, Soldier medics having the capability to reach back to WACH’s ED during training at NTC, and training our healthcare professionals to advance these services for all TRICARE beneficiaries remains a focus at WACH in order to maintain a Ready Medical Force. These efforts are some of many Weed Army Community Hospital continue to do in order to care for our Soldiers, Retirees and Family members to sustain the total Army as a Medically Ready Force.
For more information about WACH visit www.irwin.amedd.army.