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Defense Visiual Information Distribution Service: DHN East director visits “North Country”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Lance Raney, director for Defense Health Network East, visited local commands and community health care leaders at Fort Drum, New York, Feb. 13-14.


Raney, who is also the Medical Readiness Command East Director, met Army Medical Department Fort Drum leaders and members to observe how they support the military medical mission. At each location, Raney and Poutou recognized outstanding soldiers for their dedication to the mission.


"The team admired the uniqueness of the North Country,” said MEDDAC Commander Col. Christina M. Buchner. “It reminded our community partners that Army Medicine in coordination with the Defense Health Agency strives to guarantee the readiness of our medical force and military force while providing safe and seamless support to our beneficiaries.”


The two-day visit kicked off with briefings and tours of facilities on the installation. MEDDAC leadership briefed details about the command to include best practices and challenges to Raney and Command Sgt. Maj. Alexander Poutou, MRC, East command sergeant major. Command leaders are focused on the impact of readiness and community partnerships have on their mission while acknowledging the challenges of hiring medical providers in a resource constrained and somewhat remote location.


“It’s challenging, but you’ve shown up, found a purpose and are sharing that purpose with command members so they can know how critical they are to the mission,” Raney said.


Following the briefs, they toured Guthrie Ambulatory Health Center, the Soldier Recovery Unit and Wilcox Behavior Health Clinic.


Day two included visits to Stone Dental Clinic, the 10th Mountain Division Surgeon’s office and the Fort Drum Veterinary Treatment Facility.


Later, they met with leaders of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization in Watertown, New York.


“We work through problems here seamlessly by bringing the entire continuum of the local healthcare community together in partnership with MEDDAC Command.” Said Erika Flint, FDRHPO Executive Director, during a briefing with Army MEDDAC and chief executive officers of River Hospital and Samaritan Medical Center.


“This organization came together naturally,” Flint added. “It wasn’t forced, and it exists and continues because of the local culture of community between Fort Drum and the surrounding medical community.”


She said the community organization was founded more than a decade ago to connect Fort Drum Soldiers and families with quality healthcare in the North Country.


“Fort Drum is the only Army division that doesn’t have a hospital, but Soldiers get great care because of this organization,” said Raney.


The visit ended with a tour and discussion at the Fort Drum OB/GYN clinic that partners with and resides near the Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown.


"This visit to the North Country was pivotal for the 10th Mountain Division and the North Country team as it reinforced the importance of readiness through partnerships,” said Buchner.


At the conclusion of the visit, Raney was confident in their ability to execute their readiness and health care mission.


“The MEDDAC and community medical teams do a superb job of keeping Fort Drum Soldiers and their families healthy,” said Raney. “They are compassionate and skilled in everything they do.”

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