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San Antonio Market to Standardize, Optimize Local Healthcare

Military personnel unveiling flags Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, unfurls the DHA flag as Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeannine M. Ryder, 59th Medical Wing commander and San Antonio Market director, unveils the new San Antonio Market flag during the market establishment ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, July 16, 2021. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg, Defense Health Agency senior enlisted leader, and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Marc Schoellkopf assist in unveiling the flags. (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards)

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After years of collaboration, San Antonio’s military treatment facilities officially unified as a market with the Defense Health Agency during a ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The newly designated San Antonio Market will work together to optimize personnel and resources and improve access to care for more than 250,000 military beneficiaries across the region, explained Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, DHA director.

"The San Antonio Market has always been one of the largest and most influential multi-service markets in the Military Health System," said Place during the ceremony. "For decades, the men and women of the San Antonio Market have been leaders in showing the rest of the Military Health System what effective joint operations can look like."

The San Antonio Market is sprawled across the region, encompassing Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, 10 stand-alone military treatment facilities, and more than 100 specialty services - staffed by about 11,000 Army, Navy, Air Force, civilian and contract personnel.

As the Department of Defense's only Level I Trauma Center, the market partners with the community's trauma system to administer critical care to civilian emergency patients across 22 counties in Southwest Texas. Additionally, all military medical enlisted forces train at the Medical Education Training Campus on Fort Sam Houston.

"The San Antonio Market is a big deal," said Place, also citing the market's cutting-edge research, clinical and specialty care. "It's a diverse military community with profound responsibility for our nation's defense; a community that's proud of its tradition in delivering the full spectrum of services our forces demand."

While formally established on Friday, July 16, the market has been fostering cooperative efforts for nearly a decade as an enhanced multi-service market, or eMSM, noted Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeannine Ryder, San Antonio Market director and commander, 59th Medical Wing. As an eMSM, the 59th Medical Wing and Brooke Army Medical Center, a flagship of military medicine, have collaborated to deliver safe, quality health care to more than 250,000 beneficiaries since 2013.

"There is no doubt we are better together," she said. "I cannot express the pride I feel, being part of an outstanding and cohesive market team working toward the purpose of unified effort for an integrated health system."

The market's cooperative efforts have never been more apparent than over the past 18 months, Ryder noted.

"Faced with a global public health crisis, we seamlessly worked together and alongside our military and community partners to combat the pandemic through patient care, diagnostic testing, vaccinations, research efforts and more," she said. "The initiatives were here in San Antonio as well as across the nation...our medics met the call when needed."

Ryder also thanked all of the market's community partners for their support. The San Antonio market has always benefited from a strong relationship with our community partners," she said.

Moving forward as a market, "we will leverage the best of our capabilities and expertise to optimize the continuity, standardization and access to care for our patients ... because they deserve nothing less," she said.

Place agreed. "This is why we standardize and integrate our health services - to improve the care we provide, and to be prepared to provide it in combat," he said. "As our beneficiaries seek care throughout this community, they'll see more and more common processes, a common health record, and a simplified means to access care; whether that's in a military or civilian setting."

The San Antonio Market is the seventh market to stand up over the past year. DHA assumed administration and management responsibilities of military hospitals and clinics from the Army, Navy and Air Force on Oct. 1, 2019. Since then, these facilities have gradually transitioned from being supported by the military medical departments to the DHA through the stand up of medical markets.

"The collaboration you demonstrated to get to this moment was extraordinary and not a 'given,'" Place said. "Today is an acknowledgement of this team; line leaders, medical leaders, staff, our federal colleagues and private sector partners; and the commitment they made to the health of the military community."

"As a market, we look forward to expanding on our partnerships with a common goal in mind: providing the highest quality and continuity of care for our military and civilian patients," said Army Col. Michael Wirt, BAMC commander.

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