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NEWS | Aug. 20, 2019

Brooke Army Medical Center commanding general holds first town hall

By Elaine Sanchez Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Wendy Harter, Brooke Army Medical Center commanding general, held her first all-hands town hall Aug. 14 to share her command priorities and answer questions from the staff.

Harter noted that people are the number one priority, with readiness remaining vital to the future of the Army and the nation.

“We have an integral part in producing ready medical forces here, notably with our trauma department,” she said, referring to BAMC’s mission as Defense Department’s only Level I trauma center. “Nowhere else in the Department of Defense do we do that; we are integral to the Army achieving effectiveness into the future.”

Harter also addressed the transition of command and authority to the Defense Health Agency in October. At this time, DHA will be responsible for healthcare delivery and business operations across the Military Health System.

While some policies and processes may change, it will be business as usual for BAMC in terms of patient care, the general noted. Harter stressed the importance of continuing to look at how to best optimize resources across the San Antonio military medical market to drive better integration and standardization of care.

Other questions touched on civilian staffing and concerns regarding the ability to fill vacant positions at BAMC due to budgetary constraints. Leaders are continually looking at staffing to ensure high quality, safe patient care that is easily accessible, Harter said.

While fiscal responsibility is an ongoing consideration, the general encouraged leaders and supervisors to continue to elevate critical positions for review.

“We have to make sure that we have the right force structure out there,” she said. “I trust that you all can make that judgment at your levels to ensure we have the right people in the right place and in the right positions.”

Harter also addressed a question about medical equipment, particularly in regard to locating and maintaining property.

Army Col. Joe Lim, chief of logistics, stepped in to announce BAMC has submitted a package to obtain additional scanners and tags. Additionally, in an effort to improve property management, logistics has lowered the number of missing or uncalibrated equipment from 85 pieces to four.

“Safety and quality is non-negotiable,” Lim said. “It’s about the delivery of safe, quality healthcare to the most important asset this world has, our people.”

Careful driving and staff parking were other topics of interest at the town hall.

The general acknowledged safety concerns in parking areas and announced the launch of a new campaign, “Drive Friendly, Park Friendly.” This campaign will stress the importance of safe driving and consideration of patient convenience when staff are arriving to work.

Harter also encouraged staff to speak up when they have a question, suggestion or concern, and talked about the avenues to implement change throughout the organization. These include using the chain of command, the Commander’s open door policy and the new BAMC Truth hotline at 539-TRUE (8783).

For the Truth Line, callers can choose to remain anonymous or leave a message if they would like someone to follow up. Selected comments and outcomes will be featured in the commanding general’s weekly “BAMC 6 Sends” and on the Intranet.

Harter concluded by thanking the staff for their dedication and devotion to patient care.

“Thank you for what you do each and every day,” she said.