Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center started off its change of command Wednesday with a different twist. It began with an award ceremony in a relaxing setting. Before entering the Arizona sun on Brown Parade Field for the formal change of command, Soldiers gathered in the shade around the gazebo to present awards to Col. William Moran, outgoing commander, prior to the ceremony.
Maj. Gen. Richard Thomas, commander, Western Regional Medical Command, congratulated Moran as he presented him with the Legion of Merit. Also receiving awards were his wife Sarah, for her various volunteer projects and contributions as an Army spouse, and his daughter Abigail, 6, for her role as a military child. Both Thomas and Moran explained that Moran’s award was a collective team effort and belonged to everyone at RWBAHC.
Wednesday’s change of command ceremony highlighted Moran’s time at the helm as being a successful chapter in RWBAHC’s history.
As Moran took command in 2011, the Monument Fire threatened the area. Thomas mentioned how just hours after Moran assumed command, his leadership had a positive impact as RWBAHC personnel who provided critical support to the community battling the fire.
“During his tenure, Bill never really lost sight of the healthcare and readiness mission,” Thomas said. “Being the motivated and energetic leader that I know him to be, in just two years, Bill has successfully elevated Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center to unprecedented levels of excellence and patient safety, medical readiness, patient satisfaction, primary care management continuity and those needed measures.”
Thomas elaborated on the accolades RWBAHC earned under Moran. Today, it is the only medical treatment facility in the Army that is 100 percent compliant with meeting the Army’s goal ensuring Medical Evaluation Board processing time for Soldiers is under 100 days. RWBAHC also led the Army Medical Department in overall patient satisfaction in 2012.
Another of Moran’s successes included a developed and fostered partnership with the local Veterans Affairs organization. This facilitated an implementation of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, which determines a Soldier’s fitness for duty.
“Ladies and gentleman, it’s been over two years since I stood here before you all among the burning canyons and Monument Fire and [pledged my] commitment to the Fort Huachuca community that our health center would give 110-percent effort in everything we did,” Moran said. “I stand here now to report back that team RWBAHC gave 110-percent effort with blood, sweat, tears, smiles and camaraderie in support of our mission in providing safe, world-class, patient-centered healthcare to America’s most deserving beneficiaries.”
Adding to the focus of teamwork, Col. Lance Raney, incoming commander, took to the stage addressing the facility’s personnel. He praised civilian employees, calling them the “continuity” of seamless operations at RWBAHC.
Raney informed the audience that with sequestration, furloughs and military downsizing, there would be challenges ahead. He stated that RWHAHC active-duty Soldiers and civilians need to focus on the core mission of ensuring the health of Soldiers and Family members, giving them the healthcare they pay for and deserve.
“The healthcare we provide is certainly not free. It can’t be measured in dollars … They [Soldiers] pay with their professionalism, and they pay with their willingness to stand in harm’s way to protect the freedoms that we all too often take for granted,” Raney said. “Some even pay the greatest price – some don’t return from deployment, they don’t return to combat. Some lose a spouse, some lose a father, some lose a mother … remember, those that we support pay dearly for the care that we provide.”
Raney’s previous assignment was in support of the Europe Regional Medical Command as chief of operations. He now assumes command overseeing healthcare for more than 12,000 Soldiers, Family members and retirees.