Surgeon General's Corner: Navy Medicine’s Medical Home Port Initiative  

By Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., Navy Surgeon General

Navy Medicine’s Medical Home Port initiative introduces a new model of patient and family-centered health care delivery for primary care. This model is team-based, comprehensive, and designed to fully implement the complete primary care health and wellness needs of our patients. We anticipate increased access to care for patients both in person and via electronic media – a true paradigm shift in how we provide care to and communicate with beneficiaries. In the coming years, full implementation of the Medical Homeport initiative will reduce overall costs in the long term and also improve population health, patient satisfaction, and readiness across the board.

This month I’d like to highlight where we are and where we’re going with the ongoing phased-implementation of the Medical Home Port concept at Navy Medical Treatment Facilities worldwide.     

First let me say that we are renewing our focus on this vital initiative not just because most of the military and civilian health care community is already well on its way towards implementing this revolutionary way of practicing medicine, but also because we will eventually be unable to meet the comprehensive health care and wellness needs of our patients consistently and at all Navy Medicine locations if we do not. The key challenge is that the provider-centric model does not leverage the entire health care team in patient care. This decreases the ability for providers to see the right amount of patients, enhance success, and spend time doing the tasks which are appropriate for the provider’s level of certification and education. 

Make no mistake. The Medical Home Port model will be implemented and will require a culture of change and leadership to ensure success. This is a ‘game changer’ in how we have done business in the past, but I am very confident that Medical Home Port is the right thing to do, is achievable, and is fully consistent with delivering patient and family-centered care. One of the key differences between civilian and military medicine historically is how execute case management. We make sure we bring the medicine to the patient. We don’t make the patient find the medicine or the doctor. We ensure our Sailors, Marines, and their families get the right care, when and where they need it. Our Medical Home Port model is the perfect example of this philosophy.  

A few years ago, we selected eight initial sites (Naval Medical Centers and Family Practice Teaching Hospitals) to develop lessons learned and best practices with the goal of implementing throughout Navy Medicine in the coming years. Based on what we’ve accomplished thus far, we know that this model drives out variability by implementing standards for all aspects of primary care services. It ensures that care is all-inclusive and integrated with all other care provided within our healthcare system. This care delivered through Medical Homeport includes readiness, prevention, wellness, behavioral health, and disease management. 

The benefits of full implementation will be profound. Each patient will be part of a team that includes a primary care provider, a nurse educator, a care coordinator, and other support staff. This model will better utilize our personnel by leveraging support staff, increase our ability to diagnose and treat patients, and keep them in our hospitals instead of the “network” of providers outside of Navy Medicine. Lastly, Medical Home Port increases access to provider and team to allow them to better manage the health of their population. By focusing on prevention, wellness, and disease management they can drive down costs over time. I encourage everyone to embrace this fundamental change in how we provide care to our beneficiaries and do everything you can to assist in its full implementation across the Navy Medicine community. As I begin my final year, it is my honor to represent you as your Surgeon General.  Thank you for everything you do, but most of all thank you for your service.