By Kristin Ellis, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Public AffairsSeptember 11, 2013
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Sept. 11, 2013) -- Military leaders in partnership with Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund officially dedicated a new $11 million facility dedicated to the treatment of wounded warriors who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress.
Named "Intrepid Spirit," the building is the first of nine National Intrepid Center of Excellence satellite centers aimed at standardizing a single concept of care to enhance discovery, refine care delivery methods and influence the culture of leadership advocacy and shared responsibility for patients dealing with TBI, PTS and other psychological health conditions.
"The NICoE System is an essential element of the Military Health System's holistic approach to the recovery and transition of wounded, ill and injured service members," said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and Director, TRICARE Management Activity.
The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital NICoE satellite is the first expansion of services from the main NICoE facility at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The Belvoir satellite has treated 80 patients since its opening two months ago.
As other NICoE satellites stand up, they will all maintain a strong, collaborative relationship with NICoE Bethesda for clinical referrals, incorporation of the NICoE interdisciplinary team model, programmatic coordination of clinical assessments, application of treatment approaches as well as the selection of outcome metrics.
"The opening of the Intrepid Spirit One at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital reminds us in the Military Health Service that we exist for no other reason than to take care of Warriors and their families, no matter what it takes," said Army Col. Charles Callahan, Belvoir hospital commander.
Funded and conceived by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the Belvoir hospital NICoE satellite is 25,000 square feet and will serve about 600 service members each year and about 150 appointments per day.
At the new facility, wounded, ill and injured warriors develop a personalized comprehensive transition plan that includes individual goals in six dimensions of life: physical, career, social, spiritual, emotional, and family.
"The NICoE satellite revolutionizes the care model for TBI and Post-Traumatic Stress through an innovative, inter-disciplinary care model for both the warrior and family," said Heechin Chae, Intrepid Spirit director. "Combined with our advanced research programs, this care model is fully integrated with our clinical programs to maximize the warrior's functional ability and allows a productive return to military service or community."
In coordination with their physical therapists and medical providers, wounded warriors partner as a team and actively evaluate and develop new ways to incorporate life elements into their treatment and recovery plans.
"[The NICoE team's] efforts made sure my compass was pointed in the right direction to my recovery," said Sgt. Maj. Robert Haemmerle, Intrepid Spirit patient. "I now see a rainbow of hope from a place of darkness. They are out front and on point in the care for TBI."
Because of its unique clinical care model, providers are able to focus on both service members and their families while providing cutting edge evaluation and treatment plans, advanced research programs fully integrated into the clinical programs, education programs, long-term follow-up and continuity management in one central location, Chae said.
"The NICoE satellite is the next evolutionary step to position Belvoir hospital as DoD's premier facility for concussion and mild traumatic brain injury," Chae said. "This is another exciting milestone in our mission to provide world-class care to our wounded service members, active duty military, retirees, and their families."
In addition to providing state-of-the-art clinical care, the NICoE satellite conducts the critical mission of research and education in support of the main NICoE facility at Walter Reed. Healthcare providers at the satellite center will share information learned with the Walter Reed NICoE, which will aid in its ongoing research program to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment of TBI, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related afflictions.
The care and support provided for wounded, ill, and injured service members is critical to maintaining an all-volunteer force, according to Gen. John F. Campbell, Vice Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army.
"Our success in recruiting quality Soldiers depends upon how everyone sees we treat our military," Campbell said. "If we lose that commitment, we lose everything."
Each of the Intrepid Spirit centers will be located at military bases and medical centers around the country to provide care for service members without having to separate them from their units or leave their families for extended periods of treatment.
"Caring for Warriors in the context of family has special significance for us," Callahan said. "Tomorrow's military is in today's military family."
The Intrepid Spirit Center at Ft. Belvoir will provide the highest level of inter-disciplinary care for patients suffering the consequences of TBI -- estimated to be more than a quarter million veterans -- presenting a model of care where the patient and family participate in every aspect of the care as partners, Callahan said.