William Beaumont Army Medical Center's Department of Orthopaedics was recently named as the recipients of Army Medicine's Wolf Pack Award for Fiscal Year 2018.
The Wolf Pack Award recognizes exceptional teamwork by an integrated group of military and civilian team members focused on excellence in support of Army Medicine and was created by the Army Surgeon General and the Chief of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Civilian Corps.
Over a yearlong period, the Department of Orhtopaedics, also known as Iron Orthopedics in homage to the Old Ironsides of the 1st Armored Division, based locally at Fort Bliss, gained many accolades as the region's musculoskeletal health care team contributing to overall readiness at Fort Bliss and the care of service member's families, El Paso retirees, and veterans.
In total, the team treated over 33,600 patients and performed over 4,600 surgeries during the year. In a partnership with 1st AD health care providers, the team managed to impact readiness, communication and teamwork at Fort Bliss resulting in a significant decrease in non-deployable Soldiers.
The team's performance is captured in metrics from decreases in wait time for specialty appointments, from 17 days on average to nine days, to increases in surgical procedures by about 50 percent, resulting in overall productivity of over 130 percent of the department's initial target.
While orthopedic operations at WBAMC saw a steady increase from 2016 to 2017, staffing remained the same, and at times was lower than average due to continued deployments, personnel reassignments and routine training assignments. During the award's timeframe, procedures and processes concerning interdepartmental operations with veterans referred to WBAMC from the El Paso Veterans Affairs Healthcare System were also streamlined and refined. Due to the clinic's capabilities and proficiency in complex sports surgery, cartilage restoration surgery and limb deformity surgery, it also services Soldiers and families referred from other military medical facilities in the region.
In addition to patient care, the department's involvement with developing future orthopedic surgeons also played a factor in being recognized for Army Medicine's Wolf Pack award. With 25 residents, the Graduate Medical Education program is one of the top-ranked programs not only in Army Medicine, but across the nation.
Residents' talent and knowledge was continuously tried and tested resulting in scores within the 96th percentile of all orthopedic residency programs nationwide in an annual orthopedic training exam and winning the Texas Orthopaedic Association Quiz Bowl for the second year in a row during the nominating period (the residents have also won their third quiz bowl since).
A shared practice of the staff is continuous contributions to the field of orthopedics through peer reviewed publications and participation in Continuing Medical Education conferences and meetings throughout the United States.
Because the Wolf Pack's award is aimed at an integrated military-civilian team effort, about 30 civilian health care professionals also contributed to earning a top spot in Army Medicine from patient admission to point of care.
Leaders continue to harvest camaraderie through weekly training, quarterly recognitions and occasional outings for all members of the Iron Orthopedics team. The department credits a Soldier-first mindset leading to the department's multiple awards and accolades across all ranks. The 83 personnel-strong Iron Orthopedics team continuous to provide high-quality health care to Fort Bliss service members, their families, and retirees and veterans in El Paso, Texas and surrounding areas.