Navy, Marines and VA Collaborate on Healthcare in Albany

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Story Number: NNS140314-16Release Date: 3/14/2014 2:34:00 PM

By Colie Young, Frank Jordan and Tami Begasse

ALBANY, Ga. (NNS) -- For the 5,800 veterans and 1,500 active duty military living in the Albany, Ga. area, accessibility to health care services has been expanded and enhanced thanks to an agreement between Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The agreement relocates VA health care providers and services to NH Jacksonville's Branch Health Clinic (BHC) Albany onboard the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB).

"Combining Navy Medicine and VA resources will bring the best in patient care for our active duty and veterans in Albany," said Capt. Gayle Shaffer, NH Jacksonville's commanding officer. "Our collaboration not only expands and enhances care, but we are able to deliver that care in a cost-effective way as good stewards of taxpayer dollars."

The VA relocation to BHC Albany's 22,179 square-foot building provides veterans a state-of-the-art facility and access to new ancillary services such as pharmacy, laboratory and radiology. They will also have expanded access to services historically received - from primary care to mental health.

For existing BHC Albany service members, new services will include podiatry and optometry as well as access to increased staffing of existing services. The jointly staffed clinic will provide high quality, efficient and convenient care to patients in the region.

The joint clinic will complement an existing agreement the VA has with MCLB Albany, entered into May 16, 2013, that provides a separate building near BHC Albany.

Carl Vinson VA Medical Center director John S. Goldman was enthusiastic about the move. "In addition to offering primary care, we will expand services for veterans and active duty military to include optometry, audiology, mental health, podiatry, and physical rehabilitation," Goldman said. "This move not only benefits our veterans, it demonstrates superb collaboration among federal agencies. Working with the Marine Corps and the Navy has been a genuinely rewarding experience for us."

NH Jacksonville has another joint effort with the VA at its BHC in Key West, Fla. for mental health and physical therapy care.

"Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is always searching for more opportunities to become the Marine Corps,' as well as the Department of the Navy's, "best in class" installation," said Marine Col. Don Davis, MCLB Albany's commanding officer. "This latest partnership with the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Ga., combines resources to open a VA community-based outpatient clinic aboard the base. This offers the promise of greater access for veterans and active-duty military, while maximizing existing resources and offering potential expansion of medical services in a joint effort."

The Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga. provides exemplary installation support services to its many tenants, who in turn, provide vital support to the Marine Corps and other Department of Defense operations critical to supporting our great nation. Our goals embrace the principles and values of effectively and efficiently managing limited resources, providing a safe and secure installation, ensuring we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars and engaging our local community in mutually beneficial partnerships.

NH Jacksonville's priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation's heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy's third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. Of its patient population - about 163,000 active and retired sailors, soldiers, Marines, airmen, guardsmen and their families - more than 60,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager at one of its facilities.

The Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Ga., is one of 153 medical centers in the Veterans Health Administration that cares for U.S. military veterans. The medical center serves 38,000 veterans in 52 counties in middle and southeast Georgia and manages community-based outpatient clinics in Albany, Brunswick, Macon, Milledgeville, and Perry. The medical center's strategic goal is to provide America's heroes with the best personalized, proactive, patient-driven healthcare anywhere.

More information on the medical center and VA is available at www.dublin.va.gov.

For more news from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/NavalHospitalJax and www.navy.mil/local/nhjax/.

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