RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The Air Force and Army have taken a monumental step forward in the implementation of joint healthcare delivery in the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) that includes Ramstein AB and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Carla Hawley-Bowland, commander of the Europe Regional Medical Command, and Air Force Col. (Dr.) Mark Ediger, US Air Forces in Europe command surgeon signed the KMC Joint Healthcare Shared Vision statement June 2.
The statement illustrates top-level support for the reality of joint healthcare operations in the KMC. It states: "Our vision is to continue the evolution of a joint healthcare center of excellence for the Kaiserslautern Military Community by pooling our resources and streamlining services through innovative integration techniques, delivering excellent mission support, and high quality healthcare in state-of-the-art facilities."
The services have worked closely since 1992, with AF personnel providing healthcare related services with their brothers in arms at the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center nearby. This agreement brings the delivery of KMC healthcare one step closer to full integration.
The concept for integrated medical support in the KMC focuses LRMC on excellence for inpatient services, behavioral medicine, and specialty services; and focuses the 435th Medical Group at Ramstein AB on excellence in primary care and aerospace medicine.
"It’s been a real collegial effort here with everybody going for the greater good of taking care of the patients and getting the job done more efficiently," Hawley-Bowland said.
Ediger stated: "The 435th Medical Group and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center have shown great initiative and enthusiasm for further integration of their healthcare operations. These two organizations have proven their interoperability in caring for OIF/OEF patients. This initiative carries that interoperability into primary care for a large population."
Currently, Ramstein provides family practice care to 12,000 patients and pediatric care to 3,500 pediatric patients. The pact transfers an additional 6,000 family practice patients and 3,300 pediatric patients to Ramstein and moves the Women’s Health Care Initiative to LRMC. LRMC also absorbs the Pediatric Behavioral Health Clinic from Kapaun Air Station. The transfer will eliminate redundancies, improve efficiency, and streamline healthcare. The integration will require the construction of an additional wing at the Ramstein Clinic estimated at $800,000.
The services will continue to streamline and integrate healthcare services as they plan the construction of two new medical facilities, a $55 million clinic at Ramstein and a $240 million medical center at Landstuhl. The services will approach the construction of the two facilities with a focus on integrated healthcare operations to ensure scarce resources are invested wisely. They will seek to balance clinical quality, patient satisfaction, and the operational mission in a joint healthcare system.
Source: Air Force Medical Service (AFMS)
By Maj. Duane Bragg - Chief, Financial Management Office of the USAFE Command Surgeon
For further information about Air Force Medical Service (AFMS), click here