VILSECK, Germany -- A team of four U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria (BMEDDAC) headquarters staff returned 23 March after completing a site visit and assessment in order to establish a new U.S. Army clinic at Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) in Romania.
The BMEDDAC team consisted of Lt. Col. Matthew Fargo, BMEDDAC Deputy Commander for Clinical Services, Lt. Col. Aristotle Vaseliades, Commander of the BMEDDAC Army Health Clinic in Ansbach, Germany, Ms. Brandye Mize, Chief, Quality Management and Maj. Arthur Knight, Chief of Logistics spent three days at the base.
The current healthcare facility at the MK base is a split Army-Navy partnership. BMEDDAC is driving the transition from a shared workspace to a fully functioning joint Army-Navy Health Clinic after assuming full responsibility for the health and fitness of base personnel in 2017.
Currently the medical staff consists of 3 Army servicemembers, Maj. Lystra Braumuller, Officer in Charge (OIC) of the clinic (who also acts as the TRICARE liaison for Soldiers stationed at the base) and Capt. Anthony Charmforoush, BMEDDAC on-site healthcare provider at the base, and Sgt. John Shavers who runs the Patient Administration Division (PAD) as well as other administrative functions. Maj. Braumuller and Sgt. Shaver are assigned to the Black Sea Area Support Team and are on nine-month rotations. Capt. Charmforoush is on a three-month rotation out of the BMEDDAC Army Health Clinic in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Both are on call 24/7. Staffs of 5 Navy medical personnel remain on site but are scheduled to rotate out in spring.
The medical building and all equipment have belonged to the Army since the establishment of MK Air Base in 2003. The clinic is in good condition and has two designated exam rooms and a treatment room with 3 stretchers (five potential exam rooms with sinks), two storage /pharmacy rooms, two offices, a break room, a preventive medicine/future virtual health room and an ample waiting area/front desk.
The base began as a major refueling and supply route for U.S. troops in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as a hub to neighboring countries in both EUCOM and CENTCOM.
"In the coming months Human Resources Command will start to fill several key positions," said Lt. Col. Matthew Fargo. "Medics, providers, and a full-time OIC will increase BMEDDAC's ability to support the MK mission - as always, the big picture from a MEDDAC point of view is Soldier Readiness."
"As BMEDDAC takes over medical responsibilities for the aid station we want to ensure Soldiers working at MK receive the same level and quality of care that they would find at any BMEDDAC clinic in Germany." said Fargo. "While they are isolated in relation to their proximity to the closest other military treatment facility, they're not nearly as isolated as people might think from higher levels of healthcare." he said.
The base is located in the Romanian region of Dobrogea, situated between the Danube River to the west and the Black Sea to the east, approximately 15 miles from Constanta, Romania's largest port and second largest city. The surrounding countryside is austere and flat.
"We will be able to avail ourselves of larger medical facilities and capabilities in Constanta, should we require emergency and surgical capabilities, as well as ancillary support for the medics and physicians." Said Capt. Charmforoush, "Certain polytraumas, vascular surgery, and psychiatric patients would require evacuation to other facilities in the capital, Bucharest, or elsewhere.
We've already established good relationships with the Host nation Romanian medical facilities in Constanta and we'll be visiting those to make sure they are up to Joint Commission standards as we take over. "Charmforoush said.
"If the medical population increases, a nurse case manager/TRICARE representative would most likely be needed to assist in the management and tracking of patient referred to Host Nation hospitals. There is also concern for the civilians that work on base and the medical care that they get. We're including those concerns as we draw up plans and move forward."
"It's not only patients at the MK base we're preparing to treat" said Charmforoush, "We also take into account the support we'll need to provide to the Novo Selo Training Area (NSTA) in Bulgaria who fall into our area of responsibility." he said.
"During exercises here the troop population here at MK can balloon to over 3000 U.S. and multinational troops, consisting of Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen, all doing a variety of jobs. At both MK and NSTA munitions ranging from 9mm to hellfire rockets are fired. Training with tanks, aircraft, and other large equipment increases the likelihood of traumatic injuries and emergent situations that we are currently not prepared for -- but will be."
MK is an important Life Support area and the NSTA is an armor training area in the Black Sea area of Eastern Europe." said Fargo. "Ensuring good medical support to the Regionally Aligned Forces as they rotate, train and partner with NATO allies is an important Regional Health Command Europe (RHCE) mission and we're building capabilities so that they'll have the support they need -- by the time they need it. The visit is only a small part of our ongoing efforts."
To learn more about the people and facilities of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria (BMEDDAC) and the clinics they support in Ansbach, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Stuttgart and Vilseck in Germany, and in Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania, visit the BMEDDAC website at http://rhce.amedd.army.mil/bavaria
U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria
U.S. Army Regional Health Command Europe