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InformNNY.com: With no hospital on base, Fort Drum focuses on community partnerships

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — It’s no secret that each army base around the world is different.


But Fort Drum has a one-of-a-kind health system. This was addressed at the Fort Drum Medical Activity Change of Command Ceremony on July 21, where Colonel Matthew Mapes relinquished command to Colonel Christina Buchner.


One of the factors that separates Fort Drum is that it is one of the few military installations without its own hospital. This was a decision made when the base was built back in 1980.


“They don’t have a hospital on the installation, but they really have five in the community,” Erika Flint said, who is the executive director of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. “It allows for choice and excellent care.”


These hospitals include Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, Carthage Area Hospital, Gouverneur Hospital and Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville.


Although Col. Buchner is new to the North Country, she says it’s all about community partnerships.


“It’s heavily integrated with the community and our community partners who will play a significant role in the delivery of care to our soldiers and families,” Col. Buchner said following the change of command ceremony. “Helping us to preserve readiness with our organizations and prepare us for our future missions.”


This all comes together at the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. MEDDAC Commanders have all sat on organizational boards alongside local health system leaders.


“It’s really a win-win,” Flint expressed. “It allows the military to be good at being the military and the community health care, that’s good at being health care, meet those needs.”


These strong partnerships are what Col. Buchner said she is most excited about as she takes command of Drum’s medical unit, and lives in the North Country for the first time.


“I’m glad to be a part of this community and will do everything in my power to serve our civilians and our service members to ensure the delivery of safe and quality care to the Fort Drum community,” she said.


A healthcare model that gives the North Country a chance to serve soldiers and families that serve our country.

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