By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)March 30, 2007
The top U.S. Army civilian wants to promote public awareness of the increased hospital and outpatient care that will be made available to all service members and veterans under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure, law which includes a state-of-the-art, joint National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., a newly constructed community hospital at Fort Belvoir and closure of the hospital at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
"Soldiers are the centerpiece of our Army and the quality of their medical care is non-negotiable," said the Hon. Pete Geren, Acting Secretary of the Army. "Closing Walter Reed, as required by law in the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment (known as BRAC 2005) by Sept. 15, 2011, will improve the healthcare of our service members and their families."
The BRAC-directed actions will greatly improve the medical infrastructure in the Washington, DC area.
"Our wounded warriors deserve the absolute best possible care using the latest state-of-the-art technologies and equipment in new, efficiently-planned facilities," Geren said. "The naval hospital in Bethesda, to be renamed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, will be the premier regional and world-wide referral center for complex and specialty care."
Renovations required to update the hospital at Walter Reed Army Medical Center would be costly and disruptive to the care of patients as portions of the hospital would be closed for protracted periods. Such renovations would have the unintended effect of interrupting the medical system's ability to provide care to the same number of patients it handles at the present time. Building a new hospital with greater capacity and capability at Fort Belvoir will significantly improve the quality of care for all beneficiaries.
In determining this course of action, the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission cited in their report census data that indicates current and future military health consumers are concentrating in northern Virginia as well as the difficulty and expense of maintaining the aging Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Dewitt Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir. Primary care will be conveniently located at a new, expanded community hospital at Fort Belvoir where many military families live, in rapidly growing northern Virginia.
Reversing the current Base Realignment and Closure recommendations for WRAMC, while not an option available to the U.S. Army, would not address the need for significant modernization and renovation at Dewitt Army Community Hospital at Ft. Belvoir and at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center nor would it account for the changing demographic of health consumers. As the Army implements the Base Realignment and Closure law by building a new hospital at Fort Belvoir and significantly expanding the hospital at Bethesda, we will be better equipped to provide world class health care for Soldiers, veterans, and their families well into the future.
"We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient care at Walter Reed and will continue to provide seamless, world class care while transforming our medical facilities to provide the very best medical health care for our wounded warriors at Bethesda and Belvoir," Geren said. "It is the debt of our Nation in gratitude to their selfless service."
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For information please contact Mr. Dave Foster, (703) 697-5344.