Back to Top Skip to main content

BAMC adapts to support greater San Antonio community during COVID-19 pandemic

Doctor checking soldier's heartbeat U.S. Army Col. April Critelli, physician’s assistant, screens a patient for COVID-19 at the McWethy Troop Medical Clinic, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, May 13, 2019. Critelli is the first medical Soldier to return to active duty from retirement during the COVID-19 crisis. (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

As COVID-19 surges across the nation, and specifically Texas, Brooke Army Medical Center has continued to provide care for local beneficiaries, and provide aid to the greater San Antonio community.

“Over the past few months, BAMC and the San Antonio Military Health System as a whole have agilely adapted to continue to provide service to our 250,000 active duty and military beneficiaries in a COVID-19 environment while sustaining our Level I trauma support of our region,” said Army Brig. Gen. Shan Bagby, BAMC commanding general.

From easing the city’s testing demand to taking on additional critically ill patients, BAMC’s response to this ongoing crisis has been “nothing short of amazing,” Bagby noted.

BAMC is the only Level I Trauma Center within the Department of Defense and one of two within San Antonio. Alongside University Health System, BAMC administers lifesaving care to more than 4,500 trauma patients each year, including 750 burn patients, from an area that stretches across 22 counties in Southwest Texas and encompasses 2.2 million people.

Of the over 4,500 trauma patients admitted each year, about 85 percent are community members without military affiliation. The Secretary of the Army Designee, or SECDES, program enables BAMC to receive civilian trauma patients in a military treatment facility.

Working alongside Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC), which coordinates the region’s trauma and disaster relief response, and University Health System (UHS), BAMC is fully integrated within the local trauma network, said Air Force Col. Patrick Osborn, BAMC’s deputy commander for surgical services.

With local hospitals nearing capacity, BAMC has been taking additional trauma patients through STRAC to ensure the region’s trauma response remains unaffected by the pandemic.

BAMC also provides community support through its drive-thru screening and testing operation. Operational since the earliest days of the COVID response, BAMC has eased the burden on the city’s overtaxed testing sites, screening over 9,100 patients and testing over 7,500 personnel as of July 7. Additional screening and testing is provided by the 59th Medical Wing on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

For testing, BAMC uses the CDC-recommended COVID-19 test called a nasopharyngeal swab, which involves using a swab to take a sample from inside the nose. As of July 7, BAMC has processed more than 25,000 COVID-19 tests.

Additionally, technicians from Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and the Department of Defense Food Analysis and Diagnostics Laboratory have volunteered their time and resources to assist the ongoing COVID-19 mission at BAMC, added Army Lt. Col. Robert Cybulski, Jr., director of microbiology, Department of Pathology and Area Laboratory Services (DPALS).

The Pharmacy Department has also stepped to the forefront to assist COVID response efforts. To ensure staff and patient safety and reduce the footprint within the hospital, BAMC implemented a curbside pharmacy service across the organization starting in late March. Over the course of just over two months, BAMC serviced over 89,500 vehicles and dispensed over 162,000 prescriptions. Since June 1, BAMC has processed over 97,500 prescriptions through its drop-off and pick-up in-house services.

BAMC also has been leveraging every virtual asset to its fullest extent in recent months in an effort to keep patients safe at home.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virtual Medical Center at BAMC increased virtual health appointments from 16 percent of overall appointments in January 2020 to 52 percent in May 2020, said Army Lt. Col. Sean Hipp, director of the Virtual Medical Center, noting that Primary Care and Behavioral Health have been active users of virtual services. 

Virtual appointments can be used for medication refill requests, lab and radiology results, cold and allergy symptoms, urinary tract infections and routine follow-up appointments in which a physical exam isn’t required.  

The Virtual Medical Center is also exploring the expansion of tele-critical care support (TCC), Hipp said. This involves a network of providers and other specialists monitoring smaller wards, providing over watch and support for patients in intensive care units. With COVID-19, there’s a feasible tele-critical application at BAMC, he noted.

“On the readiness side, we already have a robust readiness clinic and the ability to see patients all over the world rapidly. Now, we are gaining a better understanding of what can be done over the phone or on video, which will lead to better access to care throughout the San Antonio Military Health System,” he said.

“BAMC will continue to assess and explore ways to support our beneficiaries and community during this ongoing national emergency,” the commanding general said.

“We are honored to serve our active duty, retirees, their family members and this tremendous community,” he said, “and we are proud to serve our nation as a premier readiness platform for our military medical personnel.”

You also may be interested in...

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

Article
9/17/2020
Soldier getting flu shot

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Former BAMC COVID-19 patient now CCP donor

Article
9/16/2020
Man donating blood

When someone contracts a virus, that person’s immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New communications tool rolled out on MHS GENESIS

Article
9/15/2020
Three men, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen.

Through e-Visits, providers address questions, concerns virtually.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Suicide impacts us all – but there is help!

Article
9/14/2020
Man at sporting event kissing his wife and baby

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus | September Toolkit

Wildfire smoke wreaks havoc on respiratory and immune systems

Article
9/11/2020
Picture of a military tent; an orange, smoky hue surrounds the tent and soldiers

State and country health advisory alerts on diminished air quality have been posted and shared to alert local populations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

Article
9/10/2020
Front page of newspaper

Some of the preventive measures that surfaced from the 2007 exercise included the wearing of facial coverings, regular sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing by such means as teleworking.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

JHIEs give providers better access to patient information

Article
9/8/2020
Man looking at X-Ray

The joint HIE securely connects DoD, VA, U.S. Coast Guard and hundreds of other select federal and private sector partners with patient health and benefit information data.

Recommended Content:

Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Electronic Health Record Modernization & Interoperability | MHS GENESIS | Joint Health Information Exchange | Coronavirus

The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Video
9/4/2020
The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the American workforce. This year, we pay tribute to the Military Health System Workforce.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA Director visits Naval Hospital Pensacola

Article
9/4/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place saluting to soldiers

During his visit, Place showed his appreciation to those that have been committed to excellence.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

USU & JTS lead global COVID-19 Grand Rounds

Article
9/4/2020
Woman in hospital bed surrounded by military health personnel.

A Military Health System-wide virtual clinical case conference led by the Uniformed Services University (USU) and hosted by the Joint Trauma System (JTS) offers physicans best practices and lessons learned during the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Washington state’s COVID director visits Army Medical Center

Article
9/3/2020
Admiral Bono wearing a mask speaking to a soldier

Bono took note of Madigan’s flexibility in its COVID response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD closing in on COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection goal

Article
9/2/2020
Technician wearing a mask, looking at different blood products

How to help DoD beneficiaries fighting COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

USAF doctor strives to advance women leaders in military medicine

Article
9/1/2020
Photo of Dr. Yun

While the military has come a long way regarding females in the higher ranks, Yun sees more progress to come.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Women's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 17

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.