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Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (2005)

Soldiers and their Family members moving to Fort Drum, NY, home of the 10th Mountain Division, are surprised to learn that health care delivery is unique in one major aspect: there is no inpatient facility. While health care services are offered in primary care, OB/GYN, Musculoskeletal, and Soldier Behavioral Health, its 34,000 beneficiaries receive specialized outpatient and inpatient care at local civilian hospitals.

As a result, a substantive and collaborative partnership exists between Fort Drum and the local medical community. The most visible example of this partnership is the formulation in October, 2005, of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO). A not-for–profit organization, the FDRHPO provides the forum in which the region's healthcare organizations work jointly and cooperatively to maximize available healthcare resources.

The premise of this organization is that cooperative arrangements generated will lead to win-win scenarios for both the military and the civilian communities in the greater Fort Drum region. Cognizant of the potential for this model at other Department of Defense installations, Congress created the DOD Pilot Program in Section 721 of the Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization Act. The Pilot authorized Fort Drum, NY, and Yuma, AZ, to test initiatives that build cooperative healthcare arrangements between military and non-military healthcare systems in their respective regions. At the conclusion of the pilot program, a final report will be sent to Congress no later than July 1, 2010, outlining the results of initiatives between the military installations and the local and regional non-military health care systems surrounding them.

The FDRHPO meets monthly and has formed three committees to closely examine initiatives for this pilot; the Emergency Medical Services/Disaster Preparedness committee, the Behavioral Health committee, and the Quality Standards committee. They continue to examine the potential, viability, and healthcare effectiveness of the community model at Fort Drum, and consider factors that may need to be addressed in order to increase the potential for this model to be successful at other DOD installations.