U.S. Navy Surgeon General Visits Europe to Discuss Readiness and Medical Health Care Transition

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By Petty Officer 1st Class John Kotara, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Bureau of Medicine and Surgery discussed the future of Navy Medicine, and plans to prepare medical personnel for the next fight, while visiting Rota, Spain, and Naples and Sigonella, Italy, July 17-23.

Faison, accompanied by Force Master Chief Hosea Smith, Hospital Corps director, spoke with leaders and Sailors at Naval Hospital Rota, Naples and Sigonella about important changes occurring within the military health system, in particular the transition of all military treatment facilities (MTFs) to the administration and management of the Defense Health Agency (DHA).

“These changes that are occurring,” said Faison, “will allow Navy Medicine to shift our focus from managing buildings and health care benefits to ensuring its people, doctors, nurses, and hospital corpsmen have the skills and experience to keep Sailors and Marines, healthy, ready, and on the job. This transition will allow us to promote Navy Medicine readiness across the world.”

During the multi-day trip, Faison had the privilege to conduct facility tours, admiral’s calls and leadership briefings.

“There is no greater responsibility than then to provide a highly trained medical force that is ready and prepared to save the lives of our nation’s armed forces,” Faison said. “We had a 97 percent survival rate coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the highest in all our history, and we had every conceivable advantage, including uncontested air superiority, aeromedical evacuation on demand, seamless communications, and our hospital corpsman, the most important asset on the field.”

Faison explained these advantages may not exist in the next conflict if adversaries are near-peers who can also project sea power. That’s why Navy Medicine has to be prepared for a very different threat and challenge.

Partnerships that prepare Navy Medicine’s Sailors for future conflicts can build on the successes of existing ones, such as Hospital Corpsman Trauma Training, a Navy Medicine program where hospital corpsman have gained hands-on trauma experience at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, and the University of Florida Health Jacksonville.

“We must show that we are worthy of the trust that is placed in our hands,” said Faison. “We are the ones that care for the 1% of individuals that freely volunteered to uphold our freedom and democracy of this land, and we will do whatever we can to help these military members carry on, in order to defend this country and return them home to their loved ones.”

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

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