Keesler Medical Center hosts DOD medical leadership Published May 2, 2018 By Airman 1st Class Suzie Plotnikov 81st Training Wing Public Affairs KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- A Defense Department medical leadership contingent conducted an 81st Medical Group site visit April 27 as the first part of Keesler Medical Center’s transition to the Defense Health Agency. Thomas McCaffery, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, and Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger, Air Force Surgeon General, visited the KMC because it was selected to be one of the first hospitals to transition to DHA. “We are a joint, integrated combat support agency enabling the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps medical services to provide a medically-ready force,” said Bono. The site visit included a tour of the 81st MDG’s facilities along with a town hall meeting where MDG personnel asked questions regarding manpower, training and patient care. “Moving from a federated system of multiple health systems to one where you have an integrated system under one agency will make [medical services] more effective and efficient,” said McCaffrey. With this transition, the medical services provided to patients will not be negatively affected, said Col. Jeannine Ryder, 81st MDG commander. While KMC is among the first to transition, all military hospitals in the United States and across all military services will eventually transition to administration and management by DHA. “The objective for this change is to take out redundancy within the three services when providing medical care,” said Ryder. “There will be efficiencies and best practices implemented to ensure that we provide the right care at the right time in a safe manner. As well as providing outstanding medical care in-garrison, our medics are ready for full spectrum operations, whether at home or in the deployed location.” The transition is scheduled to happen in October and members from DHA will continue to visit Keesler to aid in this transition.