By Lt. Kevin Bernstein, M.D., M.M.S., Family Medicine Resident at Naval Hospital Pensacola, Fla.
It is hard to believe that just 11 months ago, I, along with many other Naval Medical Officers began our medical internship training. In less than one month, we will graduate from our internships prepared to help our fellow shipmates, dependents and retirees in the fleet or in a continuation of residency training in our respective medical specialties to serve the needs of our beneficiaries around the world.
As a resident in a Family Medicine residency training program over here at Naval Hospital Pensacola, Fla., we have received training to prepare us for a new model of care currently being implemented Navy-wide known as Medical Home Port. Not only is Pensacola known as “The Cradle of Naval Aviation,” but we are also the trailblazers of Medical Home Port, being the first to implement this new model of care in 2009 as well as the first to attain the highest level of medical home recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). As graduates from Family Medicine internship programs within this new model of health care delivery, we are no longer primary care physicians – we are physicians specialized in the whole person, providing comprehensive, individualized and coordinated care. This revolutionized training will provide our beneficiaries a new type of primary care manager – one that will ultimately provide better care.
Rather than being reactive to medical conditions, when they are too late to fix, we are trained in a model which teaches us how to utilize resources and ancillary staff to be proactive toward prevention of chronic illness as well as to provide better surveillance of existing conditions.
It is a model that is already proven in regards to reducing emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and overall costs associated with repetitive testing and fragmented, suboptimal, uncoordinated care. In fact, there is already evidence showing that medical home can reduce the risk of death, according to a national study conducted at the University of California Davis which was published in the January/February 2012 issue of The Annals of Family Medicine.
In partnership with our patients, we are ready to provide care wherever our next duty station – knowing that our next home will also be a familiar home: A Medical Home Port.
Medical Home Port providers spend countless hours in the hospital awaiting calls to evaluate patients for possible admission, laboring patients to deliver newborn Sailors and Marines, and checking on outpatients to maintain healthy lifestyles and prevent diseases. Now, we are ready to take on the challenges ahead, to ensure the biopsychosocial health and welfare of our service members, as we carry out the Navy’s mission. As the residency programs’ class year comes to a close, we give thanks to all of our staff physicians, nurses, corpsmen, and ancillary staff that have taught us along the way.
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