Wright-Patterson Medical Center officials will sign a five-year patient-sharing agreement Friday with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that will greatly expand the number of VA patients who can seek treatment at the base hospital.
The Buckeye Federal Healthcare Consortium would cover VA patients who are enrolled at one of five major facilities in Ohio — Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Chillicothe — in the Veterans Integrated Service Network 10, said Denise Kerr, a VA spokeswoman. Those facilities also serve veterans who live in northern Kentucky and eastern Indiana.
The agreement between Wright-Patterson and VA medical facilities in Ohio could serve as a model for other Department of Defense medical facilities, officials said. More than 200,000 veterans in Ohio are enrolled in VA patient care services.
“This agreement helps us better utilize our resources and keeps our staff prepared to accomplish their wartime mission while offering quality medical service to our veterans,” Col. Timothy Ballard, 88th Medical Group commander, said in a written statement. “We think this cost-effective solution could be a model for other regions as well.”
“Our goal is to develop a robust collaboration with Wright-Patterson Medical Group that will definitely benefit the veterans within VISN 10,” Kerr said.
Col. John M. Devillier, Wright-Patterson installation commander, has said the consortium of hospitals would give veterans more access to health care at a discounted rate and shorten patient wait times. Medics would get more opportunities to hone their skills and readiness for deployment, he has added.
Wright-Patterson and the Dayton VA Medical Center both share patient services, but the new agreement is expected to greatly expand the number of people who can be treated at the base hospital.
Within the past year, the Wright-Patt Medical Center has treated 621 VA patients through 2,327 outpatient sessions and 157 admissions, according to base spokesman Daryl Mayer. When counting all patients, the medical center recorded 304,273 outpatient appointments and 4,088 admissions. The total number of patients was not provided.
VA patients have sought a wide range of medical treatment at Wright-Patterson, from neurology and ophthalmic surgeries to orthopedic and urology-related treatments.
Air Force surgeon general Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Travis and VISN 10 Network Director Jack G. Hetrick will be at Wright-Patterson on Friday.
Wright-Patterson Medical Center has 2,300 military and civilian employees and an annual operating budget of $137 million.