New regional health commander talks with BACH staff on way ahead
Col. Patrick T. Birchfield (center), Blanchfield Army Community Hospital commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Santiago (right), welcome Brig. Gen. Michael L. Place, Regional Health Command-Atlantic commander, to the hospital, Aug. 1. Place assumed... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- The commanding general for the largest regional health command in the Army visited Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Aug. 1-2 to review capabilities and talk with team members.

Regional Health Command-Atlantic, commander, Brig. Gen. Michael L. Place assumed command of Army Medicine's Regional Health Command-Atlantic, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, last month.

As hospital and regional medical management responsibilities transition from Army Medicine to the Defense Health Agency, some employees had questions about what that meant. Place conducted a series of town hall-style meetings to make himself available to take questions from the BACH staff and share information.

"We had a lot of dialogue. That's what I really wanted. I want to understand what the concerns are of the staff. I want to make sure I answer the questions they have…and give them an opportunity to talk about it," said Place. "The Army has looked at our medical treatment facilities over and over again and we've got it just about right. The visits from DHA and Health Affairs have come down and validated that Blanchfield is the right size hospital doing the right kind of activities that we want them to do for support of a community of this size, providing this amount of readiness to our operational forces. I think people should be proud of that, that DHA came down and said you guys are spot on. That's what we want you to do. We don't want to change anything. That should reassure a lot of people that we've got this and we're doing it right."

Blanchfield serves an important mission supporting the medical readiness of Soldiers assigned to Fort Campbell-based units and caring for Soldiers, Retirees and their Families. Place said that mission remains.

"Our top goal is and always will be readiness. So in our case its ready medical forces in addition to medical readiness for the division, for SOAR, for the Special Forces group that is here. Our job is to provide that to our Army so we can fight and win our nation's wars," said Place. "We do that by delivering top quality care to our wonderful beneficiaries every day."

Place, a former Blanchfield deputy commander for clinical services and also a 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) division surgeon, will continue to circulate through the region and speak with the 25,000 military and civilian employees who provide healthcare to approximately 600,000 service members, Retirees and their Families in the region. Regional Health Command-Atlantic provides medical, dental and public health support to Soldiers, retirees and their family members at Army medical centers, hospitals and clinics from Fort Drum, New York, to Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.