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Defense Health Agency Formally Establishes Low Country Medical Market

Image of Military personnel uncasing the DHA Low Country Market colors. Click to open a larger version of the image. DHA Director, Lieutenant General Ronald J. Place, and DHA Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg, unfurl the DHA colors as Col. Julie Freeman and Command Sgt. Major Charles Robinson uncase the DHA Low Country Market colors, September 2 (Photo by: Patrick Young).

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The Low Country Market was introduced Sept. 2 in an establishment ceremony hosted by the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and Winn Army Community Hospital.

Defense Health Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Place and Col. Julie Freeman, who is both the Medical Department Activity-Fort Stewart and Winn Army Community Hospital commander, participated in the DHA Market Establishment Ceremony today on Fort Stewart, unfurling the new DHA Low Country Market colors.

Speaking at the event, Place said after the transition, the goal remains the same - supporting warfighters and caring for patients.

He said the transition helps that mission by creating a flexible, integrated healthcare system that best supports the operational demands of the Department, and it meets the needs of our patients.

"While organizational relationships may change our collective mission does not," Place said. "Our mission to sustain a medically-ready force and a ready medical-force is still the reason we're all here."

He said that means we help ensure everyone in uniform is healthy and safe from potential health threats.

But he said the mission had other dimensions.

"We also support our ready medical forces," Place said. "Supporting health care professionals who care for operational forces in the field, through training and education. We provide the clinical settings in which our medics obtain and sustain those skills by serving alongside our forces -- whether that is here on Fort Stewart, overseas, or at any of our major military installations. Medics understand the unique threats and medical conditions that military service entails."

Place said when illness or injury strikes our men and women in uniform, their families and those who served our country in years past, the knowledge and resources for sophisticated care were available to support treatment and rehabilitation - whether that service is on the ground, the air, or on a ship.

"That is why we standardize and integrate our health care system," Place said. He added the reason is to improve the care provided and to be prepared to provide that care in combat. He said as beneficiaries seek care throughout the community, they will see more common processes. A common health record and a simplified means of accessing health care, whether that is on-post or in the community.

The ceremony formally established the transition of medical facilities from the U.S. Army Medical Command to a new military medical market within the DHA. A market is a group of hospitals and clinics in one geographic area working together with its TRICARE partners, Veterans Affairs hospitals, other federal health care organizations, private sector teaching hospitals and medical universities, and other health care partners.

The Low Country Market currently offers health care services to over 50,000 beneficiaries in the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield area and its medical facilities have served the military community for more than 80 years. The Low Country Market comprises the Winn ACH, Tuttle Army Health Clinic, Richmond Hill Medical Home, the Stewart-Hunter Dental Clinics and the Hawks and Marne North Troop Medical Clinics.

"We are excited for the future with DHA and the goal of elevating clinical practices, management systems and technology across the Military Health System to improve the experience of our patients and staff," Freeman said. "We are stronger when we work together."

The DHA transition will improve coordination, standardization, and dissemination of best practices across the Military Health System.

Community members can watch the ceremony; which was broadcast to the Winn ACH social media platform at www.facebook.com/winncares.

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