Skip to main content

Military Health System

COVID-19 surge spurs readiness efforts at Brooke Army Medical Center

Image of Two hospital personnel, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen. Air Force Maj. Lori Flori and 1st Lt. David Hicks, both registered nurses, discuss patient charts at the Hospitals of Providence Transmountain in El Paso, Texas while supporting COVID-19 response efforts in November 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Hall)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the nation, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas is bracing for the impact of the coming winter months as colder weather drives people indoors where the virus is more likely to spread.

Equipped with lessons learned, BAMC is preparing to shift resources and personnel to ensure hospital readiness in the event of a patient increase. On the preventive front, leaders continue to underscore the importance of safety measures such as hand washing, face coverings, personal protective equipment and physical distancing.

"The ability to remain flexible and agile, while ensuring the delivery of safe, high quality care, has been vital since the start of the pandemic," Army Brig. Gen. Shan Bagby, BAMC commanding general, noted. "Nearly a year ago, the San Antonio Military Health System moved out quickly to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, and we continue, as a system, to do everything possible to preserve their health and wellbeing."

Decision Points

Key leaders at BAMC continually assess current conditions, both within the San Antonio Military Health System, Joint Base San Antonio and across the community to ensure "we are all in step with each other and working effectively as a team," Air Force Col. Heather Yun, deputy commander for medical services, explained. Leaders across the organization also evaluate personnel and resources, to include personal protective equipment, on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis to ensure they are tracking trigger points for every contingency.

"These assessments help shape our posture and ensure we are ready to respond quickly and appropriately, whether it's scaling back elective surgeries to increase bed capacity or leaning more heavily on virtual care to protect patients and preserve PPE," Bagby said. 

Health care personnel are a trickier resource to manage for a military hospital. Unlike their civilian counterparts, military personnel are called on to deploy in support of overseas operations, as well as humanitarian missions and stateside efforts. In recent days, numerous BAMC health care professionals have been assisting in the hard-hit areas of North Dakota as well as in El Paso, Texas, about eight hours west of San Antonio.

BAMC has also offered to accept non-COVID-19 beneficiaries from William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, freeing up their capacity to admit additional COVID-19 patients as needed.

"BAMC is proud to support our El Paso neighbors and colleagues," Bagby said. "We will continue to work alongside our Military Health System partner to help relieve the stress on their local health care system as needed."

In the event of a patient increase and to avoid shortages to critical care areas, BAMC is prepared to draw nurses and technicians from outpatient clinics as well as lean on its partner, the Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center, which is housed in the hospital.

These combined efforts have helped to ensure BAMC stands ready to support both military and community-based missions. 

"The keys to our success so far have been in communication, deference to expertise, and collaboration, and we are relying on those in our current response as well to keep us agile and on the right track," Yun said. "We are in constant communication with our staff from all across the organization to ensure that concerns are addressed as early and effectively as possible, before they become safety issues. And we are relying on our subject matter experts who are keeping up with the science and advances in their field to provide counsel and refine our responses."

Community Support

As with all military hospitals, BAMC primarily provides care to active duty, military retirees and family members. However, as the only Level I trauma center in the Defense Department, BAMC has a unique community role within the local trauma network. Alongside its Level I partner, University Health System, BAMC administers lifesaving care to more than 4,500 trauma patients each year, including 750 burn patients, from an area that stretches across 22 counties in Southwest Texas and encompasses 2.2 million people. 

Of the over 4,500 trauma patients admitted each year, about 85% are community members without military affiliation. The Secretary of the Army Designee, or SECDES, program enables BAMC to receive civilian trauma patients in a military treatment facility. Traumas range from gunshot wounds and stabbings to vehicle accidents and severe burns, many of which bear striking similarities to combat wounds. As a trauma center, service members from a vast array of specialties are able to hone valuable medical skills while aiding the community they call home.

"Our close partnership with Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, University Health System and the other local health care systems allows BAMC to seamlessly integrate into community crisis responses, Air Force Col. Patrick Osborn, deputy commander for surgical services, said. 

Working alongside STRAC, which coordinates the region's trauma and disaster relief response, and UHS, BAMC is fully integrated within the local trauma network, Osborn said.

Critical Care

This has been evident in recent months. This past summer, BAMC took on additional trauma patients to ease capacity at local hospitals. Additionally, BAMC continues to care for the area's most critically ill COVID-19 patients, to include beneficiaries, veterans and civilian patients, through the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, treatment, Osborn noted.

ECMO is a heart-lung bypass system that circulates blood through an external artificial lung, oxygenates it, and delivers it back into the bloodstream. Rather than treat the condition, ECMO performs the job of the patient's heart and lungs, buying the patient precious time to respond to treatments and heal. Requiring a highly specialized team and equipment, BAMC is one of a few hospitals within the city with this capability, and as with trauma, accepts civilian patients through the SECDES program.

"As much as able, BAMC is easing the burden on local health care resources by admitting civilian ECMO patients and seeking out military beneficiaries that can be transferred from community hospitals," Osborn said. 

The mutual support of BAMC's military and community partners is key to mission success, the commander noted.

"Due to their support and the expertise of this team, the San Antonio Military Health is able to continue to ensure safe, quality care for our 250,000 active duty and military beneficiaries while preserving its readiness role as a worldwide response platform and sustaining the Level I trauma support of our region," Bagby said.

You also may be interested in...

Formulary Search Tool Buckslip: Color

Publication
1/27/2022

A color copy of buck slips on the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool. Educates beneficiaries what the search tool is and what information can be found. Includes a QR code, and features a link to esrx.com/tform. ESI and TRICARE logos are on the bottom right.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Formulary Search Tool Buckslip: Black and White

Publication
1/27/2022

A set of three, black & white buck slips on the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool. Educates beneficiaries what the search tool is and what information can be found. Includes a QR code, and features a link to esrx.com/tform. ESI and TRICARE logos are on the bottom right.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Oregon National Guard surging to support hospitals again

Article Around MHS
1/27/2022
Oregon Army National Guard touring a hospital

Hundreds of Oregon National Guard members are increasing support of hospitals throughout the state in their second hospital relief mission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Readiness Capabilities

Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 1)

Infographic
1/27/2022
Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 1)

The front side of a buck slip. Educates beneficiaries what the search tool is and what information can be found. Links to esrx.com/tform. Has three graphics grouped together on the right hand side.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 2)

Infographic
1/27/2022
Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 2)

The back side of a buck slip. Educates beneficiaries what the search tool is and what information can be found. QR code is on the right and links to the search tool. The TRICARE and Express Scripts logo are on the bottom left.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Public Health nurses offer insights on living with COVID-19 now, looking into future

Article Around MHS
1/25/2022
The Challenges of Living with COVID

One of the more challenging jobs for any public health professional is dealing with unpredictability inherent in outbreaks like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Do You Have COVID-19? Influenza? Or is it RSV? Here’s What to Look For

Article
1/24/2022
Military personnel preparing a COVID-19 test sample for processing

Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19/RSV/Flu will help your medical treatment

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health

Medical Leaders Address COVID-19 Concerns During Family Forum

Article
1/21/2022
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jemuel Macabali, from San Diego, Calif., gives the COVID-19 vaccine to staff at Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, Aug. 13, 2021.

Top health leaders talk about the recent spike in COVID-19 infections and the impact on the military community.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Navy Hospital Corpsman steps into the breach in the war on COVID-19

Article Around MHS
1/18/2022
Hospitalman Hector Conde standing in front of a immunization office's refrigeration

First responders and those fighting on the medical battleground have earned well-deserved recognition for their efforts.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Critically ill COVID Patient Delivers Baby While on Heart-Lung Bypass

Article
1/11/2022
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hernandez and his wife, Ashley, take a family portrait with their six children. Ashley is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Hernandez, a Marine Corps spouse and mother of five, is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

We Can Do It (1081 x 1081)

Infographic
1/10/2022
We Can Do It  (1081 x 1081)

We can do it: Simple measures can protect you and your community. Wear a mask, get vaccinated, and check out where and when you can get your booster! https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

Quarantine vs Isolation

Infographic
1/10/2022
Quarantine vs Isolation

Been exposed or feeling symptoms of COVID-19? Make sure you understand the difference between quarantine and isolation to keep your community safe. https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

We Have the Tools

Infographic
1/10/2022
We Have the Tools

We have the tools to fight: Protect yourself and your community from the spread of COVID-19 with the right tools. Make sure you wear your mask, get vaccinated, and find your nearest testing site. Learn more https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

We Can Do It (1201 x 901)

Infographic
1/10/2022
We Can Do It  (1201 x 901)

We can do it: Simple measures can protect you and your community. Wear a mask, get vaccinated, and check out where and when you can get your booster! https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

DHA Form 236: Pediatric (5-11 years) COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Immunization Documentation, v10

Form/Template
1/7/2022

This form is used to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to the pediatric patient. (Version 10, December 2022)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health | Immunization Healthcare Division
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 31
Refine your search
Last Updated: December 07, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery