Wright-Patterson AFB hospital rated military’s best


Wright-Patterson Medical Center treats thousands of airmen and their families every year, and it has become a bigger draw to more military retirees in search of medical care, figures show.

Since 2006, the hospital has treated 8 percent more retirees, hospital officials said.

The 88th Medical Group, which runs the hospital, also scored at the top of 58 military medical treatment facilities surveyed around the world for overall hospital ranking and patients who would recommend the treatment center, according to the 2012 TRICARE Inpatient Satisfaction Survey.

The ranking placed the hospital ahead of more well-known medical centers such as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the survey showed.

“It permeates through our building that we put the patient first in everything that we do,” said Col. Penelope Gorsuch, 88th Medical Group deputy commander and chief nurse.

Now in the midst of a $90 million modernization, the Wright-Patterson hospital has become one of several factors retirees consider when they choose to live in the Dayton area, said Bryan J. Bucklew, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

“I think it has just as much weight as the cost of living and the amenities in the region,” he said.

The medical center has a $137 million budget and treats more than 300,000 patients a year with a staff of about 2,100 military and civilian employees. Military service members represent two-thirds of the staff. Some 37,000 patients out of 57,000 people who are eligible were enrolled in medical treatment programs, according to Col. Stephen Higgins, 88th Medical Group commander.

“It draws people in because we are the only game in town for it,” said Daniel Druzbacky, 57, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant who’s also a hospital employee.

A University of Cincinnati College of Business study released in January 2010 showed the Air Force hospital had a $414.7 million impact and supported 3,592 jobs throughout the Dayton metropolitan statistical area. The spending included both hospital operating expenses and the impact of spending on staffing, goods and services in 2008.

Woody Stroud, a retired Ohio Air National Guard lieutenant colonel, is among those military retirees who chose the base hospital for primary care.

The 71-year-old Spring Valley Township resident said he made that choice because of the quality of care and the access to prescriptions at little or no cost at a hospital pharmacy.

“The fact that Wright-Patterson was nearby was significant and helped me cement my relationship with the community,” he said.

Statistics weren’t available on how many retirees decisions to live here was influenced because of the hospital. However, Phillip L. Parker, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said many people have told him of the importance “to get good health care without having to travel long distances.”

In a snapshot of the survey:

* Patients gave the hospital high marks in overall medical and surgical care with 86 percent and 85 percent of those surveyed, respectively, rating services a 9 or 10.

* The hospital scored the lowest in obstetrics and gynecology, with 59 percent of those surveyed rating services a 9 or 10. * Eighty-seven and 88 percent of respondents, respectively, reported they would “definitely” recommend the hospital’s medical and surgical care while 66 percent said the same about obstetrics and gynecological services.

While the hospital anticipates furloughs among some civilian workers and has cut spending because of sequestration, patients’ medical care will not be in jeopardy, said Col. Brent Erickson, hospital administrator.

“All of that is still here,” he said. “It’s not going away.”

Apart from the high patient satisfaction survey results, the hospital has not been without difficulties in recent years.

Last August, the 88th Medical Group alerted about 3,800 people of a possible security data breach when a notebook containing blood donor names and their Social Security numbers was temporarily misplaced. The notebook had been left overnight in a conference room, officials said.

Last July, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported the medical center could not find a rice-sized piece of radioactive medical material used with a portable nuclear gamma camera. The federal agency had notified the hospital of a failure to conduct a semiannual inventory of a sealed medical source and failure to properly secure the source. A Wright-Patterson spokesman said the hospital took “strong corrective measures” because of the incident.

In July 2010, a hospital medical privacy officer ordered an investigation after a filing cabinet containing 2,123 patient records was temporarily moved from a locked room to an unlocked room. The records, however, never left the facility, said Wright-Patterson spokesman William Hancock. “As soon it was discovered they had medical records, they were secured again,” he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

WPAFB Monday Weather: Rain showers, mild temperatures throughout day
WPAFB Monday Weather: Rain showers, mild temperatures throughout day

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE— Grab the umbrella as you head out the door today. While we're not anticipating a lot of rain to fall, we will see a few showers today. This will continue into the evening hours as well. Temperatures today will be on the mild side. We'll top out in the middle 50s this afternoon.
Local schools find lead in water; more now plan to test
Local schools find lead in water; more now plan to test

Water from drinking fountains and sink faucets in more than a dozen local school buildings were found to have elevated levels of lead in the past two years, leading local school districts to replace some water infrastructure. The Bellbrook, Lakota and Northeastern school districts had water from multiple plumbing fixtures test above the federal limit...
Ohio 571 closed, no injuries after corn silo collapse in New Carlisle
Ohio 571 closed, no injuries after corn silo collapse in New Carlisle

Ohio 571 (Jefferson Street) will be closed while officials continue to investigate what caused a non-injury silo collapse Sunday night. Crews were initially called to Miami Valley Feed & Grain at 880 W. Jefferson St. around 11:40 p.m. on reports of an explosion. After a preliminary investigation, it was determined that one silo collapsed, rather than...
Gunshot victim, suspect argue before shooting in Xenia, police say
Gunshot victim, suspect argue before shooting in Xenia, police say

A male was shot tonight at the intersection of Pocahontas and South Detroit streets after a report of an altercation between the suspect and victim, police said. A Xenia detective at the crime scene did not say whether the victim was an adult or juvenile, and said his condition was not available. Police also did not release information about the suspect...
Hostage report leads to Fairfield Twp. SWAT call
Hostage report leads to Fairfield Twp. SWAT call

SWAT officers busted into a house Sunday night amid concerns a hostage could be inside. The breach around 7:15 p.m., which involved a type of concussion grenade, ended the hourslong law enforcement activity in the 1800 block of Pater Avenue with no one found inside the home. Fairfield Twp. police were called around 2 p.m. to a report of a “domestic...
More Stories