Medical battalion improves care for wounded
November 7, 2007
Fort Campbell, Ky. -- In the summer of 2007, the Army Medical Action Plan was created to help develop solutions to improve processes and procedures for providing care to ill and injured Soldiers at Army and VA medical treatment facilities. In today's Army, ill and injured Soldiers are more commonly known as a Warriors In Transition.
"The medical community continues to diligently promote the continuous care and healing of our Warriors. We have obtained the support of the warfighters in order to help Soldiers focus on their medical needs, so that they are able to heal and possibly return to their units" Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Commander Col. Keith W. Gallagher stated. "Along with unit leaders, we have begun to identify Soldiers who need medical attention and then reassign them to the Warrior Transition Battalion to provide them the requisite medical care for a speedier recovery and return to the battlefield. Once these Soldiers are reassigned to the WTB, the unit is able to requisition a replacement for the position the Soldier vacated."
The mission of Fort Campbell's WTB is to provide command and control for the Warriors in Transition as they support these Soldiers' primary and secondary medical care through aggressive and timely case management. This dedicated care helps shape the conditions for healing as the battalion helps promote the Soldier's timely return to the force or helps the Soldier transition to civilian life and serving the Nation as a Veteran within their community. The WTB command works in conjunction with the Soldiers' assigned primary care and case managers to provide timely, quality medical care.
According to the WTB Battalion Commander Maj. Travis Burchett, "Soldiers returning from the fight should not have to fight a bureaucracy to obtain the health care they need or are entitled to." Fort Campbell's WTB teams up with the BACH medical and staff to provide every Soldier and family member the care, dignity, compassion, and respect that they rightfully earned."
When Army leaders met to develop the WTB Mission of the Army Medical Action Plan, they determined that it needed to support the Army's Warrior Ethos, "I will never leave a fallen comrade." The plan's vision is to provide a sustainable health care system where all injured and ill Soldiers are medically treated, vocationally rehabilitated, and returned successfully to active duty, or transitioned to civilian life with follow-up care through the VA. Warrior In Transition Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. David Allard passionately believes that throughout a Warrior In Transition's day, he or she will experience compassion and the promotion of healing. "The job of a WTU Soldier is to heal."
Currently 202 Soldiers are assigned to Fort Campbell's WTU Battalion. One squad leader is assigned to every 12 WTU Soldiers. While 36 Soldiers are assigned to a single case manger to help manage their medical care until they return to their fighting unit or transition to civilian community, a company and primary care manager can accommodate up to 200 Soldiers.
Burchett wants all commanders to know how Soldiers transition to the WTB. "The process is painless for the commanders." Soldiers who enter the WTB are air evacuated from theater, currently going through a Medical Evaluation Board or have a profile that requires six months or longer of continuous medical care or recovery. All Soldiers with an active MEB are to be reassigned to the WTB. The assigned MEB provider will work with every Soldier to complete his board. Within the first 24 hours of arriving at the WTB, all Soldiers are greeted by their squad leader and seen by the clinicians from the Warrior Care Clinic. They are screened by Adult Behavioral Health and interviewed by the WTB Acting Chaplain. A Soldier Family Assistance Center is available on Fort Campbell to help them complete their Soldiering needs. The SFAC resembles the comforts of an Army Community Service and provides all the necessary processes that occur at the Soldier Readiness Processing site.
After Soldiers' medical needs are evaluated and a care plan is established, squad leaders begin a thorough reception and help the Soldier integrate from the Rear Detachment unit. Spouses or next of kin are contacted to inform them of the Soldier's new assignment. Not only is a comprehensive individualized treatment plan identified for each Soldier but also Soldiers can be reassured that their family members are provided acute care needs as well.
WTU Soldiers are then assigned work programs at BACH, in the WTB, or even attached back to the unit that they just left. "This is a great benefit to the Soldiers and the units. Unit commanders are able to keep their Soldiers in their units while simultaneously requisitioning a replacement," Gallagher stated.
Gallagher continued to highlight that the Soldier's primary mission however is to heal, and all the appointments, rehabilitation and recovery processes are the most important facet of being in the WTB. Soldiers are able to retain their assigned unit, such as the 101st Airborne Division, even if reassigned to the WTB.
If commanders feel like they have a Soldier who needs to transition to the WTB, they can contact the battalion at (270) 956-0539. For common facts about WTB see page 3B in the Community Section.