By Renee Reese, Fort Stewart Public AffairsMarch 9, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Army's newest community-based primary care clinic opened March 2, during a ribbon cutting ceremony in Richmond Hill, Ga. The clinic will provide medical services to Family Members of active duty Soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, who live in the immediate area.
"The Real Estate Division of the Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers negotiated the long-term lease needed to establish the Army's newest community-based primary care clinic," said Billy Birdwell, public affairs specialist for the Savannah Corps of Engineers.
The ceremony opened with the singing of the national anthem, sung by Sgt. Kristina Doolittle, administrative specialist for Warriors Transition Unit and was followed by the invocation given by Chap. (Capt.) Deborah Brown, Winn Army Community Hospital chaplain. Winn Army Community Hospital commander, Lt. Col. Paul R. Cordts, thanked the distinguished guests and introduced the speaker, Brig. Gen. Joseph Caravalho, Jr., Southern Region Medical Commander at Joint Base San Antonio.
Brigadier General Caravalho brought more than greetings from the Army Surgeon General and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, Lt. Gen. Eric B Schoomaker.
He addressed the positive impact the clinic will have on Military Families who live in the immediate vicinity.
"Army Medical Homes are designed to deliver a common system of care that makes healthcare more consistent as you move throughout your Army career," said Brig. Gen. Caravalho. "The Army Community Based Home is healthcare the way it should be. We are trying to provide community based clinics in the neighborhood in which they (Soldiers) live," said Brig. Gen. Caravalho.
Michael O'Gorman, the Richmond Hill Medical Home Manager, added that the site was chosen based on a detailed analysis by the U.S. Army Medical Command, showing a great need for this area.
"We are half way between Fort Stewart and Tuttle Health Clinic, and what we want to do is provide the access and convenience for that population as close to home as possible, hence the name Richmond Hill Medical Home," said O'Gorman. "We get to know you and we develop that relationship. You feel comfortable talking to our team, which includes nurses as well, and we coordinate that care if you need specialty care."
The Army is in the process of opening 17 of these clinics across the United States and Hawaii.
"Fort Campbell opened first and we are learning from them," said O'Gorman. By June 1, all of the clinics should be open, according to O' Gorman.
In addition to primary care, the clinic offers immunization, pharmacy, laboratory, radiology and behavioral health services.
Distinguished guest, Maj. Regan Baldwin and his Family, along with others, received guided tours of the facility with O'Gorman shortly after the ribbon cutting.
Kristin Baldwin, spouse of Maj. Baldwin, plans on utilizing the facility in the immediate future. "This facility is going to be great for our Family because we live here in Richmond Hill and we were driving all the way to Tuttle for our healthcare. This is much more convenient and I love the aspect of them knowing who we are before we walk in the door and our medical needs," said Baldwin.
"Home-based medicine is important because once people start going to a specific place, they get comfortable," said Christie Milton, spouse of Col. Kevin Milton, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander. "These people are going to get a nurse, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, healthcare provider and a doctor that is going to say 'how are you doing'' And if I say I'm okay, and they go through the interview and they notice little things, that is going to help that patient bring out the real issues," said Milton.
Ginger Cucolo, spouse of Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, added that the facility is nice, close, and convenient. "I'm grateful that we have such fine care and to think that this will be one of three that we have right now in the nation. We are very fortunate to have this for our Family Members."
For more information about the Richmond Hill Medical Home or how you can begin utilizing the facility, visit the Web site www.winn.amedd.army.mil/index.php/medical-services/richmond-hill-medical-home/. This Web site contains valuable information that is easy to download from any personal computer.