Military Hospital Care Expands Under 2005 Base Realignment and Closure
April 3, 2007
By Dave Foster
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 3, 2007) - The top Army civilian wants to promote public awareness of the increased hospital and outpatient care that will be made available to all servicemembers and veterans under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure law.
Built into the BRAC law are plans to include a state-of-the-art, joint National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., a newly constructed community hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va., and closure of the hospital at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
"Soldiers are the centerpiece of our Army and the quality of their medical care is non-negotiable," said Pete Geren, acting Secretary of the Army. "Closing Walter Reed, as required by law in the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment by Sept. 15, 2011, will improve the healthcare of our service members and their families."
The BRAC-directed actions are expected to greatly improve the medical infrastructure in the Washington, D.C. area.
"Our wounded warriors deserve the absolute best possible care using the latest state-of-the-art technologies and equipment in new, efficiently-planned facilities," Geren said. "The naval hospital in Bethesda, to be renamed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, will be the premier regional and world-wide referral center for complex and specialty care."
Renovations required to update the hospital at Walter Reed Army Medical Center would be costly and disruptive to the care of patients as portions of the hospital would be closed for protracted periods. Such renovations would have the unintended effect of interrupting the medical system\'s ability to provide care to the same number of patients it now handles. Building a new hospital with greater capacity and capability at Fort Belvoir will significantly improve the quality of care for all beneficiaries.
"We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient care at Walter Reed and will continue to provide seamless, world-class care while transforming our medical facilities to provide the very best medical health care for our wounded warriors at Bethesda and Belvoir," Geren said. "It is the debt of our nation in gratitude to their selfless service."
(Dave Foster serves with the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.)