SAMHS celebrates one year anniversary

Army, Air Force complete integration

Author: Justin Horne, Meteorologist/Reporter,
Published On: Sep 14 2012 05:57:07 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 14 2012 06:29:09 PM CDT

After the Base Realignment and Closure in 2005, the process of combining Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall Medical Center resulted with the development of SAMHS, or San Antonio Military Health Systems in 2011.

One year later, SAMMC, or San Antonio Military Medical Center, is a thriving medical center that includes state-of-the-art medical equipment and a renowned Level 1 Trauma Center. Wilford Hall was renamed Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and is the largest Department of Defense outpatient ASC.

"We have unique resources,” said Air Force Captain Stephen Ray, an employee at SAMMC. “We're fully able to take care of all patients across the spectrum, from the sickest retiree to the trauma patient that gets stabbed or shot across town"

Ray and other fellow Airman now call SAMMC home after a year of transition that saw a heritage–rich United States Air Force integrate with a tradition-rich United States Army.

"To be honest, there are obviously significant challenges because we are two different cultures,” said Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, Deputy Director of the San Antonio Military Health System.

Those challenges according to Wong lied more with administrative issues than with service to patients.

"If you're a patient in the bed, you don't know who's treating you; if it's Army or Air Force because they're wearing clinical gear," Wong said.

According to those who work at SAMMC, the transition has been a smooth one. It has also been a learning experience with each branch bringing specialties to the operating table.

The San Antonio Military Health System serves nearly a quarter of a million patients.

"We not just a local medical asset, we are regional or national asset," Wong said.

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