William Beaumont Army Medical Center will soon serve as the official hub for White Sands Missile Range’s McAfee Health Clinic in an Army effort to strategically reorganize the U.S. Army Medical Command organizational structure from five Army Regional Medical Commands to four multi-disciplinary Regional Health Commands. The change will take effect Sept. 14.
The four RHCs consist of Atlantic, Central, Europe and Pacific and will create a single point of accountability for health readiness within each region. McAfee will fall under the central command. The headquarters for central command will be located at Joint Base-San Antonio, Texas. The transition will only be noticeable at a leadership level and will not affect patients and the level of care McAfee provides.
“(If anything,) our level of care is going to excel because now we have those open resources. This is definitely a positive move forward for McAfee,” said McAfee Commander Lt. Col. Elba Villacorta.
“They’ve been supportive from the beginning, it’s just going to be a more formalized process.”
Prior to the transition, McAfee reported directly to Western Regional Command based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. With the new transition, McAfee will now report directly to William Beaumont. William Beaumont will now report directly to the Central Command.
“The concept allows MEDCOM to become a more balanced, agile and streamlined organization, regionally aligned to support Army current and future operations, global engagements and force structure for 2025 and beyond,” said Benny Ontiveros, a William Beaumont representative. “This transition will be seamless and transparent to our patients. Furthermore, access to safe and quality health care for Soldiers, Retirees and Family members will not be reduced or compromised.”
U.S. Army McAfee Detachment Sergeant, Staff Sgt. Anthony Merino said a major reason the transition occurred is because Army medicine is moving into a new concept to create a larger focus on preventative care.
“We spend more money on treating than we do preventing,” Merino said.
For an entire week, the clinic provided patients with daily information and gift packets on Performance Triad, an initiative created by the Army to focus on the importance of sleep, activity and nutrition.
“Sometimes not speaking up can mean the difference between harm and keeping patients safe,” Merino said. “Most of the things we’ve already been doing you’re just going to see some more publicity on it.”
Merino said the increase in resources that will come out of the transition will serve as a benefit for the patients at McAfee. Both Villacorta and Merino said the transition should be a seamless one with added benefits to patients because they have always worked closely with William Beaumont in the past.
“William Beaumont has done a great job at facilitating. We fall on our marked spot and go from there,” Merino said. “There will be some challenges as with any changes but nothing that will affect patient’s care. We’re responsible for change in people’s lives and it starts with healthcare. We will be patient first as we always are.”