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Hospital partnership aims to improve military care

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Three central Georgia hospitals, including two from the Augusta area, are pooling resources to form a regional cooperative that will provide veterans and active-duty military personnel with improved access to health care, primarily in orthopedics, the hospitals announced Monday.

Fort Gordon’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center and the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center are forming the Georgia Federal Healthcare Executives Council with the Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dublin, Ga.

As a result of the collaboration, the three facilities recently won a two-year, $2.9 million grant from the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to develop a partnership in orthopedic care and post-surgical rehabilitation. The grant will fund additional personnel and equipment at the hospitals.

“This is just great news for everyone involved,” Col. Christopher Castle, the commander of the Eisenhower hospital, said of the partnership. “Our military doctors and nursing staff can see more patients and hone the skills they need to take care of our deployed forces.”

According to details of the agreement, the three medical centers started coordinating patient care and identifing opportunities for sharing facilities, personnel and services in January 2012.

After receiving positive feedback, with one veteran describing his experience as the “best health care encounter of his life,” the collaborative effort became official Monday.

Under the agreement, orthopedic patients referred from the Dublin VA hospital have surgery at Eisenhower and undergo rehabilitation at the nearby Augusta VA.

Carl Vinson Director John Goldman, who proposed the cooperative venture, called it “a win-win situation.”

“Our primary focus is always on providing the highest quality healthcare to our veterans, but in this situation we also ensure more efficient use of resources that benefits all involved, including American taxpayers,” he said.

VA and Army health care professionals said they hope to use each other as “sounding boards” for identifying and learning the best approaches to treatment.

Federal officials at the three centers expect to add new services regularly and become a national model in federal health care.

“Federal agencies are continually seeking new ways to be as efficient as possible, making this collaboration not only important now, but for the future,” Goldman said. “My belief is that what we are doing with this joint venture is just the first of great teamwork to come.”

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dstewartsr
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dstewartsr 07/29/13 - 08:30 pm
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Oh, lovely!

... Active duty and retirees are being dumped into the already overloaded and third rate VA system for care.

Gotta get the money for illegals' Medicaid somewhere.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 07/29/13 - 08:39 pm
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Could not agree more that the

Could not agree more that the VA is underfunded and overloaded.

They have some great staff, but it is obvious not enough thought or concern is given to the VA staffing, supplies and/or facilities by congress.

Despite the fact congress has never voted against starting a war or conflict that I can remember in my life time.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 07/29/13 - 10:38 pm
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“This is just great news for

“This is just great news for everyone involved,”

Have you ever noticed that "great news" about veterans healthcare never is.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 07/30/13 - 09:33 am
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Not a Bad Thing

What's actually happening is VA patients requiring specialty care are being sent to Eisenhower. This is actually not a problem at this time since a certain number of cases are necessary for proficiency. If crowding out of active duty and military retirees results, I'm sure adjustments will be made. Right now the extra patients ensure the future of Eisenhower staying a medical center and not being reduced to MEDDAC status.

validPoint
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validPoint 07/30/13 - 11:25 am
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Great

This is really a good thing to see. It helps to sort of "soften" the hard consequences of promises that were not kept to retirees and dependants....every positive step taken, is a step needed, and this is a very positive step.

Not only has VA needing speciality care always been sent to Eisenhower, Active Duty from others points have been sent to Eisenhower as well, being that there was a time when we only had four medi.vac centers in the whole conuntry.

Riverman1
82250
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Riverman1 07/30/13 - 01:52 pm
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It's actually a relatively

It's actually a relatively new thing for VA patients needing specialty care to be sent to Eisenhower on a routine basis. Eisenhower is on the edge of possibly being downgraded from a medical center which would mean a loss of lots of jobs and training programs. A mission with VA patients could be beneficial to keeping the status quo.

validPoint
982
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validPoint 07/30/13 - 08:21 pm
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Beg To Differ, Riverman1

What I do know is not very long ago, many bases in the U. S. that do not have specialists on board have utilized Eisenhower as a center for vets as well as active duty personnel. Check with Moody A.F.B GA for starters. However, it is not the only base that has sent Vets and dependants to Eisenhower for speciality care. Before the Saudi involvment, the U. S had four medi-Vac centers they were respectively Lackland A.F.B Texas, Eisenhower, Ft. Gordon, Wright-Patterson, Ohio and Scott AFB Illinois. Since the Iraqui-Afghanistan involvment Eisenhower has enacted a Wounded Warrior Program that has encouraged many Vets to seek civilian medical providers due to a lack of available space. Many Vets feel disappointed for that reason because medical care as originally promised is not available to them. However, medications that are stocked by the formulatory is available to anyone who has a military ID and a medical prescription. This is a matter of record, and anyone in the area who is affiliated with the VA already knows it.

validPoint
982
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validPoint 07/30/13 - 08:21 pm
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Beg To Differ, Riverman1

What I do know is not very long ago, many bases in the U. S. that do not have specialists on board have utilized Eisenhower as a center for vets as well as active duty personnel. Check with Moody A.F.B GA for starters. However, it is not the only base that has sent Vets and dependants to Eisenhower for speciality care. Before the Saudi involvment, the U. S had four medi-Vac centers they were respectively Lackland A.F.B Texas, Eisenhower, Ft. Gordon, Wright-Patterson, Ohio and Scott AFB Illinois. Since the Iraqui-Afghanistan involvment Eisenhower has enacted a Wounded Warrior Program that has encouraged many Vets to seek civilian medical providers due to a lack of available space. Many Vets feel disappointed for that reason because medical care as originally promised is not available to them. However, medications that are stocked by the formulatory is available to anyone who has a military ID and a medical prescription. This is a matter of record, and anyone in the area who is affiliated with the VA already knows it.

Riverman1
82250
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Riverman1 07/30/13 - 08:41 pm
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VP, thank you for your service

First of all, VP, thank you for your service. Dependents and retirees can be referred from anywhere to Eisenhower (EAMC) for specialty care. That’s always been the case. As a matter of fact, Congress had to stop EAMC from accepting certain retiree patients who didn’t want to come here because they were too far away. As far as the pharmacy dispensing medications to patients, they must have a valid military ID, active duty, dependent or retiree.

Cardiac surgeons at EAMC now travel one day a week on their own, paying their own way, to the Dublin VA to screen patients for cardiac surgery in addition to traveling to the VA in Augusta. They really deserve accolades.

validPoint
982
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validPoint 07/30/13 - 10:49 pm
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Thank you, Riverman1

The kind comment is appreciated. Just striving to "play the hand I'm dealt". Have a great night.

seenitB4
85385
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seenitB4 07/31/13 - 07:39 am
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Riverman

Riverman knows what he is talking about...I would listen to his wise words.

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