ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic staff and the Aberdeen Proving Ground community celebrated the renovation completion of the Primary Care Clinic with a ribbon cutting ceremony July 23.

During the $5 million renovation project, the Troop Medical Clinic, General Medicine Clinic, pediatrics, immunization and the pharmacy were combined to create a state-of-the art facility, the Primary Care Clinic. During this project, which took over a year, the number of exam rooms was increased from 12 to 24 and two team rooms were added. These team rooms serve as a central location for triage nurses, a call center agent, a medical records clerk and information technology support. This new design facilitates the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model approach to care. Under this model, patients receive care from the same team of health care providers every time they visit KUSAHC.

"The Patient-Centered Medical Home Model integrates patients as active participants in their own health and well-being," said Capt. Tammy Bolds from KUSAHC, who narrated the event. "Patients are cared for by a physician who leads the medical team that coordinates all aspects of preventive, acute and chronic needs of patients using the best available evidence and appropriate technology."

Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, APG Senior Leader Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell led a round of applause to thank the staff who will provide care at the new facility.

"The medical staff here, to me, is the best in the (Army) Medical Corps," he said. "Thank you for what you do daily for active duty, retirees and family members."

Ferrell called the Primary Care Clinic "first class," and added that the implementation of the Patient Centered Medical Home Model, will serve the APG community well.

"This is a new business in taking care of people," Ferrell said. "This model brings the right service to our customers."

KUSAHC Commander Lt. Col. Ellen S. Daly recognized the hard work that was put forth by the entire staff, to ensure there was no decrease in patient care during the extensive renovations. To accommodate patients last year 10 modular units were assembled in the KUSAHC parking lot to serve as one large transitional facility, covering an approximate 144 x 62 foot area.

Daly noted that early this year, several staff worked during a long holiday weekend to guarantee that the pharmacy would be ready for patients the next business day.

Daly also thanked those who were involved in oversaw the construction of the project. State-of-the art improvements include a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, energy-efficient lighting, an upgraded electrical system and computer equipment. Daly said that the renovated Primary Care Clinic makes KUSAHC more competitive with health care providers outside of APG.

"Ninety percent of patients receive their prescription refills within ten minutes," Daly said. "That is a great service, and our retirees love that, they come to (KUSAHC) for that. We want to be our patients' place of choice."

Daly added that that most importantly, the Primary Care Clinic will allow KUSAHC to provide better care. Due to upgraded computer equipment, patients no longer have to make an appointment for a refill or a referral, because patients can send secure e-mail messages to their providers.

"Your privacy is protected, and your health care needs are being met," Daly said.

Daly added that she has already received positive feedback from patients since the Primary Care Clinic opened in June.

"We have already seen patients that are happier because they are being provided with better and timelier care," she said.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory R. McClinton, Ferrell and Daly re-signed the Army Medicine Health Care Covenant, representing KUSAHC's commitment to quality health care for Soldiers and their Families. Guided tours of the renovated facility were also provided during the reception.