Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Mobile MRI for DoD and VA patients opens at Naval Hospital B
Naval Hospital Beaufort and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, opened a new mobile MRI that will provide state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging for active duty, Veterans, military families and retirees at the naval hospital, Tuesday, September 25.
The $2.3 million mobile MRI is a DoD-VA Joint Incentive Fund project that provides a 1.5 Tesla magnet for highest quality imaging studies. It will be located at Naval Hospital Beaufort. DoD and VA share laboratory, radiology and podiatry services at the naval hospital. VA opened a Community Based Outpatient Clinic providing primary and mental health care at that location in 2001.
The addition of onsite MRI services increases the level of care for all patients by expediting availability of test results to VA and naval hospital providers. It will also save Navy and VA approximately $500,000 and $435,000 respectively each year due to decreased need for patient referrals to community providers.
Working together, Navy Medicine and VA provide improved continuity of patient and family centered care for service members, retirees and their family members. This sharing arrangement also helps ease the transition from service member to veteran.
The partnership between Naval Hospital Beaufort and the VAMC, Charleston, was made possible by the National Defense Authorization Act 2003, Section 721, which authorized the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA Health Care Sharing Incentive Fund. The purpose of this Act was to provide funding that allowed various local, regional and national entities to coordinate and share health care resources. Naval Hospital Beaufort, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Naval Health Clinic Charleston and the Air Force’s 628th Medical Group, Joint Base Charleston joined forces in 2006 as the Lowcountry Federal Healthcare Alliance to develop mutually beneficial medical service sharing agreements that improve access to quality and cost-effective health care for all of their beneficiaries. The alliance was recognized as a DoD/VA Joint Venture site in 2012.