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    Navy and VA Partnership to Improve Veteran Health and Maintain Navy Surgeons’ Readiness



    Story by Regena Kowitz 

    Navy Medicine West

    In a joint initiative to improve access to care for San Diego veterans and sustain the clinical skills of active duty Navy orthopedic surgeons, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (NHCP) and the VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) are partnering to provide total joint surgeries, Navy Medicine West (NMW) announced today.

    Surgeons from NHCP have begun seeing patients at the VA’s Oceanside clinic on a weekly basis and the first surgery is scheduled to take place at NHCP later this month.

    A total joint surgery is a procedure in which parts of a damaged joint are removed and replaced with a prosthesis designed to function like a healthy joint. According to the American Joint Replacement Registry, there are more than 1 million such total joint procedures performed each year in the U.S. and nearly 33,000 performed annually in California.

    These types of surgeries are relevant to Navy Medicine’s orthopedic surgeons and operating room staff because they require managing major vessels and nerves in entire limbs, and repairing bone and joints, essential skills for treating combat-related injuries. Another benefit is the exercise of team skills required for managing the aftercare of a patient who has undergone major surgery during their inpatient stay.

    “This is the result of a tremendous collaborative effort between the VA and Navy Medicine,” said Capt. Frank Pearson, NHCP commanding officer. “This venture meets a number of high level missions. It moves Navy Medicine’s readiness mission forward by leaps and bounds by providing surgeons and operating room staff a mix of patient case load and complexity to hone their clinical skills and remain current so they are always at the ready to provide life and limb-saving care to our warfighters.”

    For the VASDHS, which currently has a high demand for total joint surgeries constrained by their current operating room capacity, this collaboration would allow them to refer patients to NHCP instead of sending patients to civilian medical facilities.

    “This partnership with Navy Medicine West in providing total joint surgeries expands our ability to serve Veterans more quickly in a high demand area with effective sharing of government resources. This is one of many successful sharing projects we have with Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton,” said VASDHS Director Robert M. Smith, MD.

    Patients referred for total joint surgery will have their initial evaluation and post-surgical care by NHCP orthopedic surgeons at the VASDHS outpatient clinic in Oceanside. The surgery will be performed at NHCP, which has capacity for additional procedures while still providing priority care for primary military beneficiaries such as active duty, active duty family members and retirees.

    “Our partnership with the VA here in San Diego not only allows us to maintain a ready medical force, it also allows us to take care of our veterans right in their own backyard as many reside in north San Diego County,” said Pearson. “We are extremely proud of the partnership we’ve forged with the VA San Diego Health System.”

    Navy Medicine West leads (NMW) Navy Medicine’s Western Pacific health care system and global research and development enterprise. Throughout the region, NMW provides medical care to nearly 700,000 beneficiaries across 10 naval hospitals, two dental battalions, and 51 branch clinics located throughout the West Coast of the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific. Globally, NMW also has oversight of eight research laboratories across the U.S. and overseas that deliver high-value, high-impact research products to support and protect the health and readiness of service members.

    The VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services at the medical center in La Jolla; and six community clinics located throughout San Diego and Imperial counties. They provide medical, surgical, mental health, geriatric, spinal cord injury and advanced rehabilitation services to more than 83,000 Veterans. VASDHS has 296 authorized hospital beds including skilled nursing beds and operates several regional referral programs including cardiovascular surgery and spinal cord injury care. They are affiliated with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and provide training for 1,383 medical interns, residents and fellows as well as 738 other health profession trainees. VASDHS has one of the largest VA research programs with a budget of $42.9 million, 205 principal investigators and 686 projects.



    Date Taken: 11.05.2018
    Date Posted: 11.05.2018 18:25
    Story ID: 298878
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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