REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--Fox Army Health Center has set the bar high for the other 10 medical treatment facilities in the Southern region.

At least that was the assessment from Diana Struski, director of strategic communications at the Southern Regional Medical Command at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. She made her first visit to Fox July 12 as part of a team conducting annual inspections of the 11 facilities in this region. A 25-member team inspected Fox through July 13 and will report to the regional commander July 29.

Struski, who joined the medical command in February, made Fox her first stop and drove away impressed.

“For this to be my first, every other place has a high standard to live up to because it’s just a gorgeous, clean community,” she said.

Every department at Fox was inspected by the team. Struski’s focus was on Fox’s communications processes; and she met with the center’s adjutant Patricia Terry and members of AMCOM/Garrison Public and Congressional Affairs.

“If there’s anything at the regional level I can do to support, please let me know,” she said.

Struski said Fox scored very highly on its strategic communications. She mentioned its partnerships in the community and its plans and policies which are in place. Fox used its crisis plan during the deadly tornadoes April 27.

“The implementation of that crisis plan during the tornadoes was excellent,” Struski said.

She discussed the Army’s changes in how it provides primary care. The Armywide initiatives include the Patient Centered Medical Home, which Fox is in the early stage of adopting. Basically this internal change will put the patient in the center of his or her medical care and decision making. It will entail adding personnel, rearranging staff and additional training, according to Lt. Col. Tim Talbot, Fox’s deputy commander for clinical services.

“We are converting to the Patient Centered Medical Home internally but that will be a several year process,” Talbot said. “We should be fully implemented by probably 2015.

“It’s called a medical home because it is based on the Patient Centered Medical Home model, a team-based model of care in which a personal physician provides continuous and coordinated care throughout a patient’s lifetime.”

The Southern Regional Medical Command, based at Fort Sam Houston, is among five regions in the Army Medical Command. The others include Northern, based in Washington, D.C.; Western, Fort Lewis, Wash.; Pacific, Hawaii; and European, Heidelberg, Germany.

The Southern Region covers 10 states " from Texas to Florida to Kentucky " and has a budget of $2.1 billion. Its commander is Maj. Gen. Ted Wong.

“I’m in awe,” Struski said of her impressions of Redstone and Huntsville. “It’s just beautiful, it’s friendly and it’s clean. Everywhere you turn it’s just beautiful here. It’s just a gorgeous environment.”

Fort Rucker was the next stop on her inspection tour. Fox was the second of the 11 scheduled inspections by the regional team.