Army Medicine: Bringing Value and Inspiring Trust

Article excerpt

Throughout the history of the United States, Army Medicine has been on the battlefield providing health care to our soldiers and compassion to the wounded. The Army Medical Department (AMEDD) motto - "Conserve the Fighting Strength" - has been in practice since 1775, before America was a nation.

The warrior preparing for battle relies on the medic being there when the cry "Medic!" goes out. The expectant mother takes comfort that her obstetric team will deliver a healthy baby. The injured soldier understands that the team providing care is focused on getting the soldier back into the fight or back to a productive life. Soldiers in a hostile environment realize that they are protected from endemic diseases by vaccinations and preventive medicine teams. The American people know that Army Medicine will provide the same high standard of care from the foxhole to the medical center. In short, we inspire trust through our record of demonstrating integrity, having world-class standards for medical capabilities, producing reliable results and, most of all, having the ultimate intention of supporting the Army family with the highest quality and most effective, efficient and compassionate health care. We take seriously our commitment to never leaving a fallen comrade behind and to bringing value with all that we do.

Each day, soldiers, retirees and their families are kept from injuries and illnesses through health promotion and prevention efforts, are treated in state-of-the-art fashion when prevention fails and are supported by an extraordinarily talented medical force - including those who serve at the side of the warrior on the battlefield. There is nothing more gratifying than to care for our servicemembers and their families.

We have made great progress in the past three years in care for wounded, ill and injured soldiers who must rehabilitate and make the transition either back to duty or to civilian life. At the heart of this effort, known as the warrior care and transition program, is the successful establishment of Warrior Transition Units at major Army installations worldwide and in civilian communities around the United States. There are more than 3,600 permanent cadre and staff overseeing a population of more than 4,000 wounded, ill and injured soldiers. Each assigned soldier receives a "triad of care," consisting of a primary-care manager, a nurse case manager and a squad leader, to orchestrate the clinical requirements of rehabilitation and help the soldier map out and achieve long-term transition goals through an individually tailored comprehensive transition plan. Nearly 24,000 soldiers have progressed through the Warrior Transition Command structure since it stood up in June 2007, with an average 80 percent satisfaction rate with the care they received.

Our obligation to those severely wounded, ill and injured in a combat zone continues to be met by the Army Wounded Warrior program, which provides one-on-one counsel and advocacy to soldiers who meet specific disability requirements as a result of their wartime service, for "as long as it takes."

A tremendous investment has been made in facilities to care for soldiers, retirees and their families. We are renovating and replacing hospitals and clinics at a rate to match the last 20 years within three years. We've received $1.2 billion in funding to build warrior transition complexes in 21 locations that will house an additional 4,150 wounded, ill and injured soldiers. Each of the new complexes will provide services in one convenient location.

Army Medicine is shifting from a health-care system that measures success by the numbers of patients treated and procedures performed to a system of health that prevents patients from needing treatment, and treats them as reliably and effectively as possible. We have changed our system from a focus on episodes of care to a lifelong commitment to health. This is a dramatic change that truly generates value for our stakeholders. …