Fort Bliss' Mendoza Clinic gets first commander
September 5, 2012
The Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza Soldier Family Care Center has become the first outpatient primary care facility on Fort Bliss to transition to a formal command structure.
Col. Marc Caouette, a former enlisted Army medic and now a 27-year Army commissioned officer, was named the first commander of the Mendoza clinic during an Aug. 30 ceremony. The command structure is expected to eventually expand to include all empanelled primary care facilities and services offered at Fort Bliss.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be entrusted with the command of a medical treatment facility," Caouette said, "certainly not (commander of) the largest freestanding primary care clinic in the Army."
The Mendoza clinic is a $42 million facility that sits on about 14 acres of land along Staff Sgt. Sims Road on East Bliss. The 143,000-square-foot, two-story clinic offers primary care, pediatric, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy and behavioral health services.
The Mendoza clinic is considered the largest and most technologically advanced ambulatory health center in the defense department.
"At Mendoza, Marc will set the standard for Western Regional Medical Command in delivering primary care to the more than 38,000 Soldiers and family members who fully entrust their care to this team," said Brig. Gen. Dennis Doyle, commander of William Beaumont Army Medical Center Commander, who officiated at the first assumption of command for the clinic.
Caouette earned his doctorate of pharmacy degree from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio in 1994. He completed his pharmacy practice residency at Wilford Hall Air Force Medical center in 1997.
Caouette's past assignments have included chief of the pharmacy branch at Army Medical Command Center and School in Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and chief of the department of pharmacy at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.
Caouette was also the first pharmacy consultant to the Multi-National Corps-Iraq.
"In the coming fiscal year we will implement the Patient-Centered Medical Home model to improve provider efficiency and permit nurses, medics, medical assistants, and other staff to work at the top of their licenses or credentials. Our command will set the standard for the rest of the MEDCOM to follow," Caouette said.
Caouette also noted the importance of keeping patients healthy rather than treating them because they are ill -- stressing a national push to transform health care systems.
"As the Mendoza team looks to the future, it must look for opportunities to influence the health of patients as we transform from a healthcare system (really a sick care system) to a system for health," Doyle said.