JRTC, Fort Polk, BJACH leaders visit regional hospitals

JEAN CLAVETTE GRAVES BJACH Public affairs officer

 Leaders from the Joint Readiness Center and Fort Polk and Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital traveled to Alexandria Monday to foster good relationships with hospitals that take care of Soldiers, Families and rotational units with specialty services not currently offered at BJACH.

Col. Jody Dugai, BJACH commander, said she coordinated the visits for Brig. Gen. David S. Doyle, JRTC and Fort Polk commanding general, because knowing their health-care partners is important for quality and continuity of care for Soldiers and their Families. She said the Army’s number one priority is people first and quality health care is imperative for readiness and making the Army stronger.

Brig. Gen. David Doyle, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general, talks to Peter C. Dancy Jr., director, Alexandria Veterans Administration Medical Center during a community outreach visit.

“Brigadier General Doyle is committed to providing the best quality of life for Fort Polk Soldiers and their Families. Part of that quality of life is the ability to seek and receive health care at BJACH and off post medical facilities,” she said. “This engagement with local health-care network leaders facilitates communication of the needs of Army Soldiers and Families, as well as enables a better transition of care to the network if needed.”

Brig. Gen. David Doyle, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general, discusses medevac capabilities on the Rapides Regional Medical Center helipad with Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Henry, post command sergeant major (left), Col. Jody Dugai, Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital commander and Dawn Descant, Rapides Regional Medical Center physician and provider relations director. The commanding general was in Alexandria conducting community outreach with network providers in Central Louisiana on March 29.

Rapides Regional Medical Center, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini and Longleaf Hospital were visited during the trip to Alexandria. The commanding general and BJACH leadership were treated to a tour of each facility, provided an overview of services offered at each location and discussed opportunities to secure a lasting relationship through persistent engagements in the future.

Clair Hick, chief executive officer, Longleaf Hospital, outlines daily activities of patients in the Forgiving Losses and Gaining Strength (FLAGS) program to Brig. Gen. David Doyle, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general, and Col. Jody Dugai, Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital commander during a tour of the facility. The commander was in Alexandria conducting community outreach with network providers in Central Louisiana on March 29.

“Each of these facilities is proud to serve our community as part of a strong Tricare network,” said Peggy Sylvest, health system manger, Humana Military.  “The visit was a great way to network and build relationships with individuals working daily in support of our service members, Families and retirees.”

The day began at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Alexandria Medical Center. Peter Dancy Jr., medical center director, provided information on the facility, community based outreach centers and benefits offered to transitioning service members and veterans.

“Building strong and trusting relationships between the Alexandria VA, Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital and the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk is important to coordinating world-class care to our active duty military, as well as Louisiana veterans,” said Dancy. “Each organization has a vested interest in taking care of America’s sons and daughters. That trust allowed us to seamlessly battle the COVID pandemic and we will continue to build and improve the relationship on behalf of our shared patients.”

He said each organization will continue to benefit from ensuring critical access to the care and service that is needed and earned by the dedicated men and women of the armed forces.

Rapides Regional Medical Center is the only Level II Trauma Center in central Louisiana. The ability to medically evacuate rotational Soldiers to the facility is extremely valuable to the combat training center.  

“Rapides Regional Medical Center and Fort Polk have had a long relationship of caring for our Soldiers and military Families. Our engagements with Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital and the Joint Readiness Training Center Leadership allows us to have important conversations about continuity of care for our shared patients,” said Jason Cobb, CEO of Rapides Regional Medical Center. “It is an honor and privilege to care for our military communities. We strive to provide the highest level healthcare for our troops in a way that benefits both the Fort Polk community and the community of Central Louisiana at large.”

The BJACH commander has several more visits to regional hospitals planned for the near future. Her team and the commanding general will continue building relationships with health care providers on behalf of Soldiers, Families, retirees and BJACH patients who need services from the network.