Future of Military Medicine in the National Capital Region (NCR)

1.What does the Future Hold?
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) mandate stated that by September 15, 2011, the services currently provided at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) would relocate to the current National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) location in Bethesda, MD. The joining of these two proud and longstanding centerpieces of military, world class health care will be named the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda. This facility in the North section of the NCR, and the future Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) in the South NCR region will create a coordinated network of health care for our beneficiaries. The goal is to incorporate the diverse multi-service market into a world class, integrated, regional health care delivery system.
2.Simply Defined
  • Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC): The law that allows the Department of Defense to implement changes consisting of tangible things such as buildings, space, equipment and finances.
  • Integration: Defined by people and relationships, policies, and procedures. The merger of different service cultures into one organizational culture, and the merger of Army, Navy, and USAF military and civilian personnel into two new joint hospitals capable of performing world class health care, education, and research.
  • Transition: The movement of all aspects of the systems that support patient care; the people and the services that are currently at the individual military treatment centers.
  • Transformation: The transfer of governance from service specific commands to joint commands at the future Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
3.Patients First
At the heart of all we do in military medicine, is the mission to care for our patients, their families and our beneficiaries by delivering the exceptional care they expect and deserve. Through the patient and family-centered care model, the Military Treatment Centers in the NCR continue to provide the same quality and access to services throughout the integration and transition process. And as always, it is considered a privilege to serve the Wounded Warriors and their families.
4.The FUTURE Medical Center at Bethesda
The current National Naval Medical Center hospital will become the joint Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda. President George W. Bush presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on July 3, 2008. A new outpatient building, a new inpatient building, three new garages, a multitude of additional new buildings and extensive renovations of the existing structures totaling 2.7 million square feet, and a total of 345 beds will make the Medical Center in Bethesda one of the biggest and most state-of-the-art medical centers in the world.
5.Fort Belvoir Community Hospital
Construction of Fort Belvoir’s new 120-bed hospital began in November 2007. When complete, the new facility will be three times the size of the current hospital. Expanded inpatient and outpatient services will make access to primary and specialty care much closer to home for our beneficiaries in the Northern Virginia area. Similar to the future Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, a joint command will be established at the facility.
6.One Joint System
The Joint Task Force Capital Medical (JTF CapMed) is currently in the final stages of establishing a permanent manning document, or the “Joint Table of Distribution and Allowances” (JTD). It is a process which includes each service organization providing input and guidance in order to develop the best combination of personnel and skill sets available. The task of putting civilian caregivers into positions at each of the facilities is well under way. The joint facilities will be staffed by civilians and Army, Navy and Air Force service personnel.
7.Integration in Process
Clinical staff integration between WRAMC and NNMC is not a new story. There are currently over 70 military and civilian personnel leading diverse, but truly integrated departments, in both facilities. Leaders were selected and approved in a joint, transparent process bringing together “the best of the best” from each of the services. Full logistical integration however, will begin with the transfer of clinical operations for outpatient and inpatient care in late summer and early fall of 2011. The disestablishment of two great, historic facilities and the merging of them into one modern, world class medical center will provide the best in quality care for our wounded, ill, and injured.
8.First Tier GME Program & Health Professions Education
Graduate Medical Education (GME) and Health Professions Education (HPE) in the NCR remains at the forefront of providing the best training and education for doctors, nurses and medics for our hospitals in the United States, on battlefields, and in worldwide deployments.
To date, 65 GME programs train 46% of all Army, and 34% of all Navy physicians. Integration of GME programs began in 1995 with Pediatrics and OB/GYN leading the way. Other programs begin integrating in 2000. In 2006, two orthopedic residencies integrated into a single program and were granted the maximum two year accreditation. This was an incredible achievement and reflects on the professionalism and integrity of those leading the military GME process. In May, 2008, the “Transitional Year Programs” were granted a 2 ½ year accreditation that will train 28 new interns from all military services. The senior nursing and enlisted leaders at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center are working toward establishing hospital “Magnet” status. A Magnet hospital delivers the highest quality nursing care, based not only on excellent patient outcomes; but also on nurse satisfaction with their working environment and leadership. This leads to greater patient satisfaction and lowers the staff nurse turnover rate.
9.Stay Informed!
Please be sure to visit the following websites to get the most current information about this exciting process!