Weed ACH strengthens bonds with local hospitals during Leadership Summit

Weed Army Community Hospital at Fort Irwin, Calif., hosted executive leaders from 13 medical facilities in Southern California and Las Vegas regions during a Leadership Summit event March 11, 2022.

Col. Nancy Parson, the Weed ACH commander, said the event served multiple purposes.

“Weed Army Community Hospital wanted to meet the local hospital leadership to build connections, allow them to understand our mission at the National Training Center, and see how we can better collaborate to provide exceptional healthcare,” Parson said.

Col. Nancy Parson (center), the Weed Army Community Hospital commander, gives a tour of the hospital to local medical executives March 11, 2022, during the hospital’s Leadership Summit at Fort Irwin, Calif. (Army photograph by Kimberly Hackbarth)

Capt. Daniel Renfer, chief of Weed ACH’s Emergency Department, coordinated the event with entities across Fort Irwin, including National Training Center headquarters, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 916th Support Brigade, Operations Group, Fort Irwin Directorate of Emergency Services, and Fort Irwin’s home-based businesses.

Renfer and his team invited medical facilities based on specific criteria.

“We began by inviting our nearest neighbors in the high desert before moving outward towards facilities where we have sent patients for both routine appointments as well as our more acutely ill transfers,” he said. “Along with those, we identified some potentially under-utilized strategic partners with services we do not currently offer at Fort Irwin.”

Renfer said the team also made it a priority to invite the nearest Air Force and Naval military treatment facilities to encourage continued joint force collaboration, especially under the recent realignment of military hospitals and clinics to the Defense Health Agency as markets.

DHA’s newly established markets are able to work together with TRICARE and civilian health care partners in their areas to provide the best and most efficient care for beneficiaries.

Weed ACH joined the California Desert Small Market, which gives the hospital more flexibility to facilitate care at other sites, if necessary.

“With the transition to DHA opening up more outside options for care for our beneficiaries, these partnerships with Air Force or Naval medical treatment facilities could increase the availably of services that may not be offered here at Fort Irwin,” Parson said.

Capt. Daniel Renfer, chief of Weed Army Community Hospital’s Emergency Department, speaks to a group of visiting medical executives March 11, 2022, during Weed ACH’s Leader Summit at Fort Irwin, Calif. (Army photograph by Kimberly Hackbarth)

The event allowed Weed ACH leaders to show the local medical executives the hospital and Fort Irwin’s location, mission, and services provided to Soldiers and beneficiaries.

“Some of the highlights of the event included a hospital tour led by our command team, a luncheon catered by Fort Irwin’s home-based businesses, a flight on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, and a ‘Box Tour’ in Fort Irwin’s desert training area,” Renfer explained. “The Box Tour included a combat demonstration with weapons familiarization while the luncheon provided ample networking opportunity between medical leaders.”

The Leadership Summit strengthened communication among medical facilities where Fort Irwin beneficiaries could receive care.

“Creating strong working relationships with our healthcare partners opens up clear lines of communication,” Renfer said. “This then allows us to more effectively discuss our patient population’s needs, identify potential new avenues for care, and brainstorm how to make access to care outside our gates easier and more efficient.”

Parson expressed gratitude to the local medical executives for attending the Leadership Summit.

“We appreciate the local hospitals for taking time out of their busy day to drive to Fort Irwin and see what we do to support the mission of National Training Center,” Parson said. “I believe our visitors will have a better understanding of our hospital capabilities and areas we can work together to provide the best care for patients.”

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