Army Surgeon General visits Tripler, talks about readiness, health care, the future

| June 27, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, engages with Tripler Army Medical Center staff members, beneficiaries, and other Army Medicine employees throughout the area of responsibility to discuss priorities and the future of Army Medicine at a Town Hall, June 21, at Kyser Hall, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Leanne Thomas)

The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, engages with Tripler Army Medical Center staff members, beneficiaries, and other Army Medicine employees throughout the area of responsibility to discuss priorities and the future of Army Medicine at a Town Hall, June 21, at Kyser Hall, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Leanne Thomas)

Leanne Thomas 
Tripler Army Medical Center

HONOLULU — The U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja West, commander of U.S. Army Medical Command, visited Tripler Army Medical Center, June 19-21, as part of a strategic visit to Hawaii.

During the visit, West spoke with senior leaders, toured the Tripler Medical Simulation Center, and visited wounded warriors at the Warrior Transition Battalion. West also hosted a Town Hall for staff members, beneficiaries, and other Army Medicine employees throughout the area of responsibility to discuss priorities and the future of Army Medicine.

HONOLULU — Lt. Col Jefferson Roberts, left, director of Medical Simulation and the chief of Rheumatology Service at Tripler Army Medical Center discusses training aspects and capabilities during a tour of the TAMC Medical Simulation Center with The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, right, June, 19. West, the 44th Surgeon General for the U.S. Army and the Commander of U.S. Army Medical Command, also met with senior leaders and directors of TAMC to provide leadership support, identify best practices, and discuss the future of Army Medicine. TAMC enables Total Force Readiness by providing safe, high quality, patient-centered health care to soldiers, families, veterans, and retirees throughout the Pacific region; conserving the fighting strength through the provision of care, training, education, research, and support. (Photo by Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs)

HONOLULU — Lt. Col Jefferson Roberts, left, director of Medical Simulation and the chief of Rheumatology Service at Tripler Army Medical Center discusses training aspects and capabilities during a tour of the TAMC Medical Simulation Center with The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, right, June, 19. (Photo by Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs)

Commander of Tripler Army Medical Center, Col. Andrew Barr said, “Inside of the military health system, the main focus is the transition to the Defense Health Agency, and we have to really ensure that we are maintaining the readiness of our military forces,” he said.

“The Surgeon General is very focused on ensuring that we know readiness is job one, the top priority, and there is no other priority. And it’s great that she’s able to come here and give that message from her, so there is really no doubt in anyone’s mind what we are here for,” Barr added.

By providing health and wellness services to the Total Force, “readiness” at Tripler Army Medical Center is threefold: To support a medically ready force, a ready medical force, and build a future of readiness through the hospital’s medical education programs and global health engagements.

Tripler offers training opportunities and resources to health care providers and medics to hone their skills at the hospital’s medical simulation center.

“Part of our readiness – if there are not enough patients for all 120 plus military occupation specialties, then health care providers do not have enough opportunities to get enough repetitions to make sure they are up to speed in their specialties,” explained West. “Then we have to rely on simulation to do that, and Tripler is doing some really great things with simulation here.”

HONOLULU — Col. Dwight Kellicut, left, chief of Vascular Surgery at Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) discusses trauma training initiatives with The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, right, during a tour of the TAMC Medical Simulation Center to provide more information about TAMCÕs unique training capabilities in support of medical readiness, June, 19. West, the 44th Surgeon General for the U.S. Army and the Commander of U.S. Army Medical Command, also met with senior leaders and directors of TAMC to provide leadership support, identify best practices, and discuss the future of Army Medicine. TAMC enables Total Force Readiness by providing safe, high quality, patient-centered health care to soldiers, families, veterans, and retirees throughout the Pacific region; conserving the fighting strength through the provision of care, training, education, research, and support. (Photo by Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs)

HONOLULU — Col. Dwight Kellicut, left, chief of Vascular Surgery at Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) discusses trauma training initiatives with The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, right, during a tour of the TAMC Medical Simulation Center to provide more information about TAMC’s unique training capabilities in support of medical readiness, June, 19. (Photo by Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs)

Col. Dwight Kellicut, chief of Vascular Surgery at TAMC, informed West during a facility tour of how the medical simulation center, here, has evolved since its inception in 2007.

He said, “We are now training our nurses with simulation, we are training our 68W (Combat Medics) sustainment program with simulation. A lot of the medics, obviously they all can’t work in the emergency room every day so they can do 68W sustainment training, making sure their skills are at their peak. And we have incorporated trauma system training with multidisciplinary teams in support of what we are doing now at Tripler with level II trauma…those are just a few examples.”

TAMC built a state-of-the-art Simulation Training Center in response to graduate medical education requirements and redeployment needs and is one of only four DoD institutions that is accredited by both the Society for Simulation in Health Care and the American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institutes.

“This is especially important to continuing medical education and credentialing,” added Barr.

When asked how Army Medicine is delivering safe, reliable health care, West also emphasized the importance of continuing medical education and credentialing.

“Number one in our facilities is to make sure we practice safe health care delivery to everyone, and that everyone knows this is extremely important because people’s lives are at stake,” West said.

HONOLULU — The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, right, is greeted by Col. Andrew M. Barr, left, commander of Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), and Command Sgt. Maj. Abuoh E. Neufville, center, TAMC's senior enlisted advisor, June 19. West, the 44th Surgeon General for the U.S. Army and the Commander of U.S. Army Medical Command, met with senior leaders and directors at TAMC to provide leadership support, identify best practices established at the military treatment facility, and discuss the future of Army Medicine. During the visit, West also toured the TAMC Simulation Center to gain more information about the hospital's unique training capabilities in support of medical readiness. TAMC enables Total Force Readiness by providing safe, high quality, patient-centered health care to soldiers, families, veterans, and retirees throughout the Pacific region; conserving the fighting strength through the provision of care, training, education, research, and support. (Photo by Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs)

HONOLULU — The Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, right, is greeted by Col. Andrew M. Barr, left, commander of Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), and Command Sgt. Maj. Abuoh E. Neufville, center, TAMC’s senior enlisted advisor, June 19. (Photo by Leanne Thomas, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs)

“We have multiple checks and balances – First of all, we make sure that the individuals providing the health care are properly trained, properly credentialed, and meet all of the standards for their specialty,” West explained. “We have an entire credentialing process to make sure they are up to date on continuing medical education.”

“The second is – we look at ourselves in every way possible, and we have sterile agencies take a look at us. For example, the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission is the body that evaluates and surveys all facility hospitals, those that are participating, nationwide. So it’s not just the military,” said West.

“We actually voluntarily participate in that, 100 percent of our facilities. And the good news is that we compare very favorably to our civilian counterparts,” West said. “So think about it, 100 percent of our facilities participate, not 100 percent of all other facilities participate.”

“We take pride in providing high quality care to our beneficiaries because they deserve it. They deserve the absolute best, and we want to make sure that they know they are getting the best,” West said.

West also made time to meet with two wounded warriors assigned to Tripler’s Warrior Transition Battalion. Sgt. 1st Class Jorama Domogma, food service specialist, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nakeshia Gardner, unit supply specialist, both soldiers in transition selected to meet with The Surgeon General for their positive contributions made at the unit.

Capt. Heriberto Hernandez, also a WTB soldier in transition said, “Domogma and Gardner have a positive attitude and took personal responsibility in the recovery process. They took charge of their care and are positive examples for other soldiers in transition as well as being positive influences to staff, both soldiers and civilians alike.”

After 20 years and five months in active duty service, four deployments to Iraq, and one to Kosovo, Domogma said, “I am ready to retire and return to civilian status, and the Tripler WTB has been a big help during this process.”

Gardner will return to the force following her time in recovery.

West recognized both soldiers for their positive contributions and presented them each with a commander’s coin.

Several other TAMC staff members had an opportunity to interface with The Surgeon General during a Town Hall discussion.

Maj. Jordanna Hostler, chief of Sleep Medicine at Tripler asked West, “As DHA (the Defense Health Agency) is rolled out, we know we are going to see changes, but what kind of changes do you see coming to the deployed service member?”

West explained, “I think these are really exciting times for us in Army Medicine. Ways that we are doing things will be challenged, and the way that we know things are going to be altered, but that’s in our Army as well.”

“If you’re tracking, we are standing up a whole new command, Army Futures Command, so the DHA change, that’s just one aspect,” West said. “But how will that affect our deployed soldiers? I can guarantee that it will not change because that is what we’re for.”

Army Medicine enables the medical readiness of the Total Army. Unit commanders are responsible for soldier readiness, but rely on Army Medicine’s technical expertise and capabilities to prevent, identify and treat health problems while optimizing the performance of healthy soldiers.

“We do a lot in Army Medicine in all the different areas, but what we’re here for is to make sure our operational forces are supported,” added West.

Through the Army Medicine enterprise, Tripler Army Medical Center stands ready to further enhance the medical readiness of all U.S. service members throughout the Pacific basin.

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