SAN ANTONIO -- One of every six San Antonio employees works in the health care and biosciences industries and the industry impact is approximately $24.5 billion, according to a report released by the San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce Nov. 30.

The study was conducted by Trinity University professors Richard Butler, Ph.D., and Mary Stefl, Ph.D.

During his presentation, Butler noted that recent developments in military medicine and the bioscience sector point to a bright future for health care and biosciences in San Antonio.

Butler also stated that the economic impact, based on data collected during 2009, for the first time included a serious conservative and comprehensive evaluation of contributions to the city economy by military medical health care operations, research, and training and education programs.

During the annual health care and biosciences industries luncheon, Maj. Gen. David Rubenstein, Army Medical Department Center & School commanding general, described the growing military medical presence in the community as a result of BRAC 2005.

During his presentation, Rubenstein summarized current military medicine organizations such as the Army Medical Command, the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, the Institute for Surgical Research and the Army Medical Department Center & School.

He noted that in addition to the allied health care training programs at the AMEDDC&S, more than 600 interns, residents and fellows participate in graduate medical education programs in San Antonio. Programs sponsored by the University of Texas Health Science Center include psychiatry, surgery, nephrology and nuclear medicine.

Rubenstein said that new capabilities such as the San Antonio Military Medical Center (BAMC), Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, the Defense Department's consolidation of enlisted medical training programs and the establishment of the Medical Education and Training Campus, the Joint Center for Battlefield Health and Trauma and the first BAMC community-based health care clinic are all indicators of the growth of military medicine in the San Antonio area.

BRAC 2005 legislation directed the consolidation of enlisted medical training for the Army, Navy, and Air Force at Fort Sam Houston.

The METC complex encompasses approximately 1.9 million square feet of facilities, including dorms, classrooms, laboratories, a headquarters/administration building, physical fitness center, student activities center, and an 80,000-square-foot dining facility.

METC is expected to have an average daily student enrollment of approximately 9,000, making it the largest institution of its kind in the world.

Also related to BRAC is the consolidation of all military in-patient care in San Antonio at BAMC.
This project involves construction of a seven-story, 760,000-square-foot addition that will house a Level 1 trauma center, operating rooms, clinical and administrative space and an extension of BAMC's internationally acclaimed burn center. A 5,000-space parking garage will also be built, as well as a central energy plant.

More than 300,000 square feet of the existing BAMC facilities will be renovated. When construction is finished, the complex will absorb the inpatient and civilian trauma care services currently provided at Wilford Hall Medical Center. A new WHMC replacement facility will focus exclusively on outpatient care.

BRAC 2005 construction also includes two medical research and laboratory buildings for improved battlefield trauma recovery and patient treatment.

The 150,000-square-foot Joint Center of Excellence for Battlefield Health and Trauma Research built next to BAMC is consolidating research efforts of all service branches to enhance the delivery of combat casualty care.

To the north of BAMC on Holbrook Road, the Tri-Service Research Laboratory is a 181,000-square-foot structure designed to house research efforts that examine the health and safety effects of exposure to a variety of stressors in the field.

BRAC-related renovation of clinical facilities include Budge Dental, Rhodes Dental, McWethy Health Clinics and the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine.

The BRAC 2005 medical component program consists of 53 contracts with an aggregate programmed amount of approximately $2.19 billion. The contracts cover construction or renovation of 76 facilities totaling approximately 6.5 million square feet of building space.

(Brian Dwyer, JPMO Public Affairs Office, contributed to this article)