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    Former BACH Commander Cuts Ribbon for Fort Campbell VA Clinic

    ASD For Health Affairs, Former Commander visits BACH

    Photo By Justin Moeller | It was an honor to welcome back Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez, former hospital commander...... read more read more

    FORT CAMPBELL, KENTUCKY, UNITED STATES

    03.12.2024

    Story by Justin Moeller 

    Blanchfield Army Community Hospital

    FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Doctor Lester Martinez-Lopez, Assistant Secretary of Defense Health Affairs and former Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and 86th Combat Support commander, returned to Fort Campbell to participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the new Fort Campbell VA Clinic inside BACH.

    He shared the stage with current BACH Commander Col. Sam Preston, VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal, and VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Executive Director Daniel L Dücker.

    “The new VA clinic will better leverage existing infrastructure and use underutilized space. This location will provide a closer clinic, lower the drive times, and make it more likely that Veterans will utilize the healthcare they qualify for and earned,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    That is welcome news for the veteran population of Montgomery and surrounding counties, where up to one-third of Soldiers who separate from the military stay in the Fort Campbell area.

    “We don’t want to leave anyone behind. This clinic delivers on the promise that if they serve, we will provide care,” Dr. Martinez-Lopez said in an interview after the ceremony.

    Dr. Martinez-Lopez met with BACH department chiefs and hospital staff earlier in the day to expand on the vision of how this VA partnership will benefit Soldiers and Veterans alike.

    “Proficiency and readiness in the clinical setting will train our doctors, nurses, and staff to be able to treat patients when forward deployed. The real cost of sending Soldiers out on the network directly impacts our readiness.”

    Dr. Martinez-Lopez further expanded on how everything is connected, “First, we have to get the force ready through training, vaccinations, and meet readiness requirements.”

    Dr. Martinez-Lopez then spoke about how we mobilize and push the medical force forward to begin healthcare delivery.

    “Last is maintaining proficiency and readiness in the clinical setting by seeing actual patients.”

    After the meeting, Dr. Martinez-Lopez toured the hospital’s main campus and then received a driving tour of the surrounding dental, sleep, Armed Forces Wellness Center, Soldier Recovery Unit, and Intrepid Spirit on Fort Campbell.

    Dr. Martinez-Lopez's message was evident throughout his visit, “Taking care of the wounded and sick is our business. Serving the Veteran community will keep skills sharp and practices up to date.”

    Dr. Lopez emphasized that the opening of this VA clinic shows the fruit born of a strong relationship between Fort Campbell and the surrounding communities. The direct impact of the clinic will not be immediately felt, but will show its worth, especially over the next three years.

    “It was a true honor to host Dr. Martinez-Lopez and show him the progress that continues after he left Fort Campbell as the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital commander in the late 90’s,” said Col. Preston.

    “With him now serving as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, it is exciting that he joined us in this Fort Campbell VA Ribbon Cutting ceremony to formally open the clinic inside our hospital which provides increased opportunities to care for Veterans while helping our medical professionals maintain their readiness skills.”

    U.S. Army story by Staff Sgt. John Howard

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.12.2024
    Date Posted: 03.12.2024 16:11
    Story ID: 466010
    Location: FORT CAMPBELL, KENTUCKY, US
    Hometown: CLARKSVILLE, TENNESSEE, US
    Hometown: FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA, US
    Hometown: FORT CAMPBELL, KENTUCKY, US
    Hometown: FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS, US
    Hometown: HOPKINSVILLE, KENTUCKY, US

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