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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2017

Naval Health Clinic Charleston celebrates 100 years of providing healthcare for service members

By Navy Capt. Dale Barrette, commanding officer Naval Health Clinic Charleston

Naval Health Clinic Charleston is a command with a rich history and tradition. Commissioned on July 31, 1917, the original Naval Hospital Charleston began as an emergency hospital caring for the wounded during World War I. The hospital consisted of 19 temporary wooden buildings with a bed capacity of 250. The following year, 14 additional buildings were constructed, increasing the bed capacity to 1,000 beds.

Over the next century, the hospital infrastructure changed many times, including consolidating from several buildings to one, and moving from Charleston to North Charleston to its current home in Goose Creek, on the Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station.

Renamed Naval Health Clinic Charleston, NHCC shares occupancy with the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Goose Creek Community Based Outpatient Clinic. Both organizations share the 188,000 square-foot, John G. Feder Joint Ambulatory Care Clinic, where Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs employees are recognized as setting the gold standard for providing healthcare to service members, family members and veterans.

As NHCC’s new commanding officer, I view my role as being a steward of an organization with a strong leadership team, a reputation for providing the safest and highest quality of healthcare, solid partnerships and an impressive record of success.

I realize our real strength is our staff members, who constantly strive for better ways to treat our patients. Our staff has extensive experience in healthcare, as well as knowledge of, and commitment to, the military and the Charleston community. Half of our crew are active duty service members, while the other half is comprised of civilian and contract employees, many of whom are military veterans themselves.

It is our physicians, nurses and other caregivers who, every day, blend compassion with technology to make a real difference in lives of our patients. We come together and value one another’s contributions as we work together to give patients the care they need and deserve.

This is a historic time in healthcare and the landscape is changing rapidly. We are clearly focused on the challenges and pending future changes in military healthcare. We take our role as an anchor in the community health system seriously and strive towards constant improvement and engagement. We will continue to invest in improvements to infrastructure, technology, education and staff development. 

Our efforts to improve and enhance our existing clinics will proceed with an emphasis on customer service, improving efficiencies and focusing on prevention and wellness services. We believe individual health and wellness involves both physical and mental well-being. As healthcare providers, we strive to take an active role in promoting both in our community. We will continue to collaborate with our regional partners to improve early intervention and access while working toward decreasing the existing stigmas around mental health.

At NHCC, our patients and their family members are the most important members of the healthcare team. We want them to be active in making decisions about their care. We have implemented multiple initiatives designed to improve communication between patients and providers, such as secure messaging though Relay Health and TRICARE Online. We also offer easy ways for our beneficiaries to provide feedback through Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) comments, Facebook and our mobile App.

While NHCC is a state-of-the-art healthcare facility, it is also a welcoming and comfortable environment. Our diverse staff understands our patients’ needs. When you come to NHCC, our staff will provide you friendly, safe and caring services. Our team is comprised of people you know – your friends, family and neighbors. They are people who care and people you can trust to meet your healthcare needs. You can expect a friendly greeting, responsiveness to your concerns and care from people who want the best outcome for your health and the experience of care. Our dedicated and caring staff is available to answer your questions and respond to any concerns you have.

We are privileged to care for service members, their family members and those who have served in the past.  We take pride in what we do, who we serve and what we stand for. We know we are caring for America’s treasures – our sons and daughter – to make a positive difference in this world. We will always endeavor to provide our beneficiaries with a quality of life commensurate with their sacrifice and we promise to deliver compassionate, quality care to every patient, every time.