By Heather Graham-Ashley, III Corps and Fort Hood Public AffairsOctober 31, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas (Oct. 31, 2012) -- Fort Hood is one of six Army installations slated to construct a National Intrepid Center of Excellence Satellite facility to provide comprehensive care and treatment to Soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and complex diagnoses, according to the medical center commander here.
Col. Patrick Sargent, commander, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, said the proposed opening for the center at Fort Hood is December 2015, but that time frame is dependent on fundraising, site approval and priority.
Funding for the centers comes from the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a sister organization of the Fisher House Foundation, both of which were founded by Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher.
"We are excited to have this world-class facility coming to Fort Hood, and we're grateful to the Fisher family for their commitment to improving the lives of Soldiers and their families," III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr. said about the center.
Designed to function as an extension of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, or NICoE, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the satellite facility will focus on clinical care for Soldiers through the use of state-of-the-art modalities and technologies.
The intent is that the Army NICoE Satellites will not become a replication of a medical treatment facility's traumatic brain injury program, but rather an enhanced capability and focus of collaboration and synchronization across multiple service lines within a military treatment facility, or MTF.
"It's a process and part of the continuum of care," Sargent said.
Services provided at the new satellite facility will mirror services already offered at Fort Hood, but provide those services under one roof in a centralized location where Soldiers will receive treatment from a multidisciplinary team of medical, behavioral health and supportive health professionals.
"NICoE SAT will not provide services on Fort Hood that aren't readily available already," Sargent said. "The NICoE will provide a central location for comprehensive evaluation/rehabilitation of complex patients with a mix of diagnoses that may include, but are not limited to, mild traumatic brain injury, psychological health, pain, musculoskeletal and other related disorders."
Rather than replace currently available treatments and care options at Fort Hood, the new facility will augment those services by providing holistic care in one centralized location through an intensive multi-week outpatient program, the medical center commander added. In addition to medical and behavioral health services, Soldiers in the NICoE SAT program will also receive treatment from chaplains, art therapy and recreational therapy to address not only physical needs, but also the psychological and spiritual well-being of service members.
Current plans at the Fort Hood center call for three interdisciplinary teams to provide holistic care focused on the individual Soldier's needs, Sargent said.
The center will be able to accommodate about 1,000 Soldiers each year for the multi-week intensive outpatient program.
"It works out to about 100 Soldiers a month," Sargent added.
Acceptance into the program will be determined by the clinical judgment of the Intake Assessment Team based on a review of the Soldier's history, presenting symptoms, medical records, response to survey tools and other evaluations.
This intensive outpatient program is not for everyone.
"Not all Soldiers require this level of intervention," Sargent said.
Soldiers who will receive treatment through the program will include those with a history of continued effects from concussive traumas and unresolved psychological health issues and their related coexisting issues that have not been resolved through other treatments, Sargent said.
"The NICoE SAT is not for everyone," the medical center commander said. "This program is for a person who has been unsuccessful in treatments at the tertiary levels of care."
Even with the SAT facility, Sargent said, there will still be times Soldiers and their families will be sent to the NICoE at Walter Reed NMMC for more intensive treatments, but the new center here will allow many to stay close to home and receive needed care.
The first two NICoE Satellite facilities, at Fort Belvoir, Va., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., are currently under construction. Each of the SAT centers is expected to be about 25,000 square feet and cost an estimated $11 million to build. Each center should take about three years to be built and gifted to the Department of Defense, according to information from the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund website.
The location for Fort Hood's SAT center has not yet been approved, but the timeline for the opening should follow closely with the opening of the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, also projected for 2015.
Satellite centers are being established throughout the nation and focused on the installations of greatest need to provide Soldiers the opportunity to receive intensive treatment while staying in close proximity to their families.
A family's active participation in a Soldier's treatment is vital to the process, Sargent said.
"Family involvement is key," he said. "Families have to be an integral part of the treatment, to ensure the overall success of the treatment process."