By Yan Kennon, Naval Hospital Jacksonville Senior Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.─ Capt. Gayle Shaffer turned over leadership of Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville—comprised of its hospital and five branch health clinics (BHCs)—to Capt. John Le Favour during a change of command ceremony Aug. 8.
Approximately 400 guests (military and civilians) attended the time-honored Navy tradition at the All Saints Chapel aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, presided over by RearAdm. Terry Moulton, commander of Navy Medicine Eastand Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.
Moulton praised Shaffer’s leadership and outstanding performance, and acknowledged her several accomplishments as commanding officer. “It’s clear that you and the Naval Hospital Jacksonville team are dedicated to delivering high-quality compassionate care to our military, their families, and those entrusted to our care. You can be proud of your accomplishment.”
Moulton presented Shaffer with the Legion of Merit Award, on behalf Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Navy surgeon general and chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), for her exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
“The past two years have been an incredible journey and the highlight of my naval adventure,” said Shaffer. “We have witnessed a whirlwind of change, improvement and excellence—all of which could not have happened without each and every member of the Naval Hospital Jacksonville team. I leave here proud, humbled and grateful of the men and women (military, civil service, contract employees and volunteers) of whom I have served with every day for the past two years. Capt. Le Favour, I can confidently say that Naval Hospital Jacksonville is poised for greatness. And like me, you too will have the privilege of commanding a high-performance team that thrives on challenges and is committed to providing superb care to our nation’s heroes, past and present, and their families.”
During Shaffer’s two-year tour, NH Jacksonville set the standard of excellence within Navy Medicine, achieving numerous awards and certifications for health care quality such as: The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® accreditation; the National Committee for Quality Assurance Level III (highest level possible) Recognition for all 14 Medical Home Port teams; 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Scholarly Activity Award; 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; and the Navy Surgeon General’s Health Promotion and Wellness “Blue H” Award (all six facilities and reserve Operational Health Support Unit detachments).
Additionally, NH Jacksonville won the Captain Joan Dooling Award for IT Professional Excellence and passed inspections by the Navy Medical Inspector General, College of American Pathologists, Navy Supply Fleet Logistics Center, and the American Association of Blood Banks (achieving a 2-year reaccreditation with an overall compliance rate of 99 percent). And in response to Hurricane Isaac, its BHC aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany extended health and dental care services to an additional 4,000 relocated Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) students and Marine Aviation Training Support Group (MATSG) Pensacola.
Shaffer has been noted as the driving force in the success of the command over the past two years, during a period of extraordinary challenges that included sequestration, civilian furloughs and a government shutdown. Under her leadership, Shaffer improved overall primary care provider continuity (from 43 to 75 percent) and expanded medical treatment facility enrollment across its facilities resulting in the recapture of 14,000 patients back into the direct care system.
Other notable accomplishments during Shaffer’s tour include: maintaining a 90 percent or higher patient satisfaction rate; sustained medical readiness rates above 90 percent, for the NH Jacksonville enterprise and its tenant commands; sustained operational dental readiness at or above 95 percent; redirected 9.8 million dollars from commercial insurance companies back to Navy Medicine through expanded health care capabilities; launched a new Mental Health Directorate and Sexual Assault Forensic Exam services; and ventured into health care collaborations with the Veterans Administration, Marine Corps, Air Force and community health care organizations which expanded available services while decreasing TRICARE network costs.
Shaffer, a native of Bloomington, Ill. and U.S. Navy Dental Corps officer, took leadership of NH Jacksonville June 8, 2012. She is a member of the American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry and a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD) and International College of Dentists (FICD). Shaffer will embark on a new assignment at BUMED as the Assistant Deputy Chief for Medical Operations, where she will be focusing primarily on Navy Medicine’s global approach to delivering outstanding care.
Le Favour, a Medical Service Corps officer and NH Jacksonville’s newest commanding officer, most recently served as executive officer of NH Camp Pendleton, Calif. He is board certified in health care management and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Le Favour acknowledged the exceptionally high standard set by Shaffer, observing that the heroes of our nation can rest easy and focus on their mission because “they and their families are receiving the best care a grateful nation can give.” He finished his remarks by telling those in attendance, “I am ready to go to work!”
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—70,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities. To find out more, visit the command website at www.med.navy.mil/sites/NavalHospitalJax.