On 1 Oct 2019, the Defense Health Agency assumed control of military medical facilities as part of a sweeping reorganization of military medicine. What this means for SAMMC and the rest of the military health system remains to be seen in this transition phase, but SAMMC Ortho is shaping the future. The change not only presents expected challenges but exciting opportunities for those with the vision to capitalize. The DHA transition falls in line with the efforts of many who have worked since 2010 to create the joint department in San Antonio.
The culmination of the combined department is the installment of Matthew R. Schmitz (2009) as the next Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics. Matt is taking the reins (and cowboy hat) from Chris Roach (2005) whose two years in the seat saw steadily increasing case volume, 10-year accreditation for the residency and the beginning of value-based care in the military health system. Matt is the first Air Force Chairman of the joint Department and the first for the San Antonio Military Health System (SAMHS). He took over officially on 3 Oct and has already laid out a clear vision for the Department to continue its constant pursuit of excellence in patient care, research, education and leadership. We thank Chris for his leadership during a time of turmoil in the MHS and look forward to an exciting future under Matt's leadership.
As part of the transition to DHA, SAMMC Ortho is leading the way for the entire enterprise by driving the transformation of all surgical services in SAMHS. The Department of Orthopaedics has operated since 2011 as a single department utilizing two separate facilities and has always operated above and around interservice rivalries. That model has now been exported to all surgical specialties in San Antonio and includes Anesthesia, Operative Services and the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine allowing personnel to be placed where they are needed by patients to provide care. SAMHS Surgical Services plan and leadership was approved by the SAMHS Board of Directors on 3 Oct 19 with Patrick Osborn (Fac mbr) being named as the Surgeon-in-Chief to lead the transformation of surgical care in San Antonio. Beyond improving patient care, the new structure will seek to recruit and retain the best and brightest military surgeons to come to SAMHS to maximize their potential and lead surgical excellence for all of military healthcare.