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NEWS | June 11, 2019

Cross-functional team receives national award for BAMC Secretarial Designee program

By Lori Newman Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

The Brooke Army Medical Center Secretarial Designee Cost Analysis Team received the 2018 Distinguished Team Award at the local and national level from the American Society of Military Comptrollers.

The national award was presented at the ASMC Professional Development Institute in San Antonio on May 29.

Secretarial Designee, or SECDES, program gives BAMC the ability to treat critically injured patients who would not otherwise be eligible to receive care at a military treatment facility.

BAMC is the only Level I trauma center within the Department of Defense and one of two Level 1 trauma centers within San Antonio. Alongside University Health System, BAMC administers lifesaving care to more than 4,000 trauma patients each year, including 750 burn patients, from an area that stretches across 22 counties in Southwest Texas and encompasses 2.2 million people.

Of these patients, about 85 percent are from the civilian sector and 14 percent are military beneficiaries, on average.

A cross-functional team comprised of analysts from Resource Management, Business Operations, Patient Administration and the Trauma and Burn Injury Departments, was formed in 2018 to analyze the training benefits of the SECDES program.

"Their analysis effectively increased the justification for keeping the SECDES program at BAMC. This is a huge impact on sustaining military medical providers' wartime competencies," said Army Lt. Col. Kristi Morris, Resource Management Division deputy chief.

Over the past year, blunt injuries from car accidents or other causes were most common source of trauma, comprising about 85 percent of the patients. The remaining 15 percent had penetrating wounds from a gunshot or stabbing.

"SECDES patients come into the medical center with complex trauma and burn injuries (the most war-like injuries), which give realistic battlefield injury scenarios for military healthcare providers to treat," Morris said.

"The BAMC SECDES program treats over 91 percent of the entire Army's SECDES patients and is a pivotal part of BAMC remaining the only Level 1 Trauma Center in the Department of Defense," Morris said.

BAMC receives these traumatically injured patients through a written agreement with Bexar County Hospital District. The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, or STRAC, coordinates the region's trauma care, ensuring patients are transported to a health facility that will best meet their treatment needs.

A Level I designation signifies the highest level of trauma care. BAMC's state designation also has been verified by the American College of Surgeons, which confirms the presence of resources required to be considered Level I.

"A Level I Trauma Center is capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury -- from prevention to rehabilitation," according to the American Trauma Society. The ACS re-verified BAMC as a Level I center last year.

"We not only are serving our community with trauma care, but also are serving our Nation by ensuring our military health care professionals are equipped with the skills needed to serve around the world at a moment's notice," said Air Force Col. Patrick Osborn, Deputy Commander for Surgical Services.