Story by Christina Clarke on 08/27/2019The Defense Health Agency will officially assume responsibility for administration and management of U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Naples, Italy no later than Oct. 1, 2021. The transition is part of the Military Health System's ongoing transformation efforts called for by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Acts of Fiscal Years 2017 and 2019 to improve the readiness of the U.S. military and improve the care provided to patients. The ultimate goal of this transition is to create a more integrated, efficient, and effective system of readiness and health within the Defense Department.
"From a patient perspective, most of these changes should go unnoticed," said Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. "Rocky" Bono, DHA director. "Patients can expect the same high quality, trusted care they've come to know at our military hospitals and clinics. Providers can expect to focus on practicing medicine and maintaining their preparedness in the event of crisis."
The transition of more than 430 Army, Navy and Air Force hospitals and clinics to DHA is taking place in phases. The process began Oct. 1, 2018, when the hospitals and clinics at Fort Bragg, Pope Field, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina; Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida; Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi; and Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina transitioned to DHA. These facilities joined Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Virginia, which are original elements of DHA.
On Oct. 1, 2019, DHA will assume management of all military hospitals and clinics in the continental U.S. Specifically, DHA will be responsible for all budgetary matters; information technology; health care administration and management; administrative policy and procedure; and military medical construction.
"CONUS facilities will transition before OCONUS. Although Naples may seem like a ways off, these changes are coming and will impact our community by October 2021," says Captain Richard Knittig, USNH Naples Commanding Officer. "Further, we want to ensure those who PCS back to the states during this reform understand why this transition is taking effect. This is a time of immense change for military medicine and we will continue to keep the community apprised of such changes,"
These reforms will drive better integration and standardization of care. Patients will receive consistent, high- quality health care no matter where they are stationed. Throughout the transition, DHA's mission remains to support the warfighter, care for warfighter families, and care for the patient.