Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Dermatology VA-DoD Clinic Opens at Naval Hospital
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and Naval Hospital Beaufort officially opened a shared Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense Dermatology Clinic at the Naval Hospital Feb. 26 to serve Veterans, service members and military dependents.
The VA-DoD Dermatology Clinic, which will be staffed by a VA dermatologist, licensed practical nurse and administrative specialist, is funded through the Federal government's Joint Incentive Fund. In 2006, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and Naval Hospital Beaufort joined forces with Naval Health Clinic Charleston and the Air Force's 628th Medical Group to form the Lowcountry Federal Healthcare Alliance. Recognized as a VA-DoD Joint Venture site in 2012, this group has partnered to successfully implement approximately 10 shared clinics providing such services as Optometry, Ophthalmology, Mobile MRI, Laboratory, Radiology, and other services to VA and DoD beneficiaries throughout the Lowcountry.
"Naval Hospital Beaufort was designated as a Joint Venture Site with the VA by the Joint Executive Council," said Capt. Anne Lear, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Beaufort. "This relationship has continued to grow over the past several years and is borne out of mutual interest in caring for those who serve or have served our country in various military corps. We see the importance of the handoff from DoD to the VA as our service members either retire or are identified to receive ongoing care in the Veteran's system."
Currently, Naval Hospital Beaufort refers its dermatology patients for care in the community and VA patients must travel to the VA medical center in Charleston. The addition of dermatology in Beaufort is expected to save both organizations approximately $257,500 per year and eliminate the need for VA patients to travel up to 100 miles to Charleston for care.
"Today is really much more than a celebration of a new Dermatology clinic – it is a celebration of a strong partnership that will serve our Veterans, active duty service members, and their families for years to come," said Scott Isaacks, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center director. "Our mutual commitment to providing the very best medical care for our nation's heroes has made this clinic a reality. That commitment continues to pave the way for increased collaborative sharing services in the future, such as orthopedics, laboratory and mental health care."
The partnership 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. The purpose of the alliance is to develop mutually beneficial medical service sharing agreements that improve access to quality and cost-effective health care for all of their beneficiaries.