By Jay Ebbeson (Madigan Healthcare System)April 13, 2010
MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Wash. - Western Regional Medical Command Commanding General Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe visited Madigan Healthcare System on a rainy Monday in late March as part of his command orientation tour.
Events included a command briefing led by Madigan Healthcare System Commander Col. Jerry Penner III and selected key presenters, plus tours of Madigan-unique programs including the Andersen Simulation Center, Family Assistance for Maintaining Excellence and the Soldier Evaluation for Life Fitness clinics.
During a town hall meeting in Letterman Auditorium, Volpe spoke about the strategic challenges facing the Army. "Threats we face today are not going away," he said. "The challenge for the Army is that it is out of balance and stressed because of the accumulation of deployments. Systems, processes and procedures such as Army Force Generation and Comprehensive Soldier Fitness are much-needed training and well-being measures the Army has implemented," he added.
Volpe, who took command of the Western Regional Medical Command Feb. 11, said he plans to be on the road a lot and put "eyes on" each and every military treatment facility in the region, such as with his visit to Madigan. "I want to see the great people at work, get to know them and ask questions," Volpe told the filled auditorium audience.
Narrowing his remarks to the U.S. Army Medical Command, he stated that the recent reorganization from five medical regions to three in the continental United States, including Western Region, has aligned with TRICARE Regions and will provide comprehensive care for our beneficiaries. "This shows great promise for better efficiency," Volpe said. "Madigan's tradition of excellence is known throughout the Army and I just wanted you to know that," Volpe added. "We should be working to make our patients raving fans, not just satisfied with their care," he said.
Volpe encouraged all members of the Western Region to work together to persevere. "We must practice dignity and respect toward one another, understand human behavior and get back into the people business to become a healthy organization," he added.
Innovation must be balanced with standardization in practices, he cautioned. "Madigan is renowned for its innovation, but I encourage you to not sit back," Volpe said. "If it isn't broke, make it better."
Volpe stated that Madigan will be very busy this summer with the return of the Stryker brigades and other returning deployed units, along with Warrior Forge, the annual ROTC summer training held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "I have the utmost faith and confidence Madigan will excel during this time," Volpe stated.
He ended the town hall by thanking Madigan staff for all they do and that it is an honor to serve together in the nation's Army.