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Navy surgeon general addresses transition during visit to pacific northwest

Navy Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery takes time to share a few words with staff at Naval Hospital Bremerton's Urgent Care Clinic during his official visit at the command that included additional stops in the Pacific Northwest at Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor and Madigan Army Medical Center. (U.S. Navy photo by Douglas Stutz) Navy Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery takes time to share a few words with staff at Naval Hospital Bremerton's Urgent Care Clinic during his official visit at the command that included additional stops in the Pacific Northwest at Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor and Madigan Army Medical Center. (U.S. Navy photo by Douglas Stutz)

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Oak Harbor and Bremerton, Wash. — Navy Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, visited Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor (NHCOH) and Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB), April 17 – 19, 2019, where he addressed concerns regarding Navy Medicine transition, mission readiness, and personnel manning.

The Military Health System began a phased transition Oct. 1, 2018 in which Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) began transferring administration and management to the Defense Health Agency (DHA). NHB and NHCOH are among the MTFs preparing to transition in 2020.

“Navy Medicine and military medicine is in the midst of immense change and transition which will significantly impact the way Navy Medicine health care is delivered for years to come,” said Faison.

Faison emphasized the fact that while there is significant change on the horizon, it will ultimately help to standardize care and gain efficiencies across the enterprise. These changes are also allowing Navy Medicine to refocus on readiness. To aid in this effort, Faison touched on the establishment of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Commands (NMRTC) which will ensure medical personnel develop and maintain operationally relevant abilities, skills, and competencies.

“There is real benefit as we do this. The DHA will be taking over administration and management of the MTFs and this is an opportunity for us as we focus on the future and readiness,” said Faison. 

He further explained the changing wartime environment and the need to shift our focus to casualty care in a maritime domain. “We can’t continue to primarily focus on peacetime medicine at the expense of readiness.”

“While the families of Sailors and Marines remain a priority, Navy Medicine must provide clinical experience for health care providers,” said Faison. NMRTCs will ensure we meet this readiness requirement as Navy Medicine continues to transition. 

“If the fight is tonight, you have to be ready to go tonight, to save lives tonight,” stated Faison. 

Despite significant changes taking place throughout various components of Navy Medicine, Faison offered word of reassurance. “We will take care of our people. We are not going to break faith as we work through the shifts and transitions of change.” 

As Faison concluded his visit to NHB and NHCOH, he explained to both commands the three basic tenets he expected from each staff member.

“Be worthy of the trust placed in your hands to care for America’s sons and daughters. Be worthy of the uniform you wear and be worthy of the privilege of leadership.”

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provides health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

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