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DHA Transition front and center at Naval Hospital Bremerton

31 May 2022

From Douglas Stutz

The transition of management and administration – as well as personnel, property and systems - of a military treatment facility like Naval Hospital Bremerton to the Defense Health Agency is actually old news.NHB began the conversion process – albeit well behind the scenes - to DHA several years ago.Visible proof?Look no further than the nearest
The transition of management and administration – as well as personnel, property and systems - of a military treatment facility like Naval Hospital Bremerton to the Defense Health Agency is actually old news.

NHB began the conversion process – albeit well behind the scenes - to DHA several years ago.

Visible proof?

Look no further than the nearest computer screen.

NHB was an initial site to switch informational technology to the DHA network, having moved over 1,500 workstations in early 2016, followed by an accompanied transfer to the Global Service Center.

Fast forward to the present with this bit of trivia serving as a backdrop at NHB three town halls recently held to explain the transition to the civil service work force who will be part of the process, July 17, 2022.

“Nearly all of our civilian government service employees are going from being Department of the Navy to Defense Health Agency,” said Capt. Jeffrey Feinberg, NHB executive officer, adding that active duty personnel will still be assigned to Navy Readiness Training Command Bremerton. “Everyone is still part of the Department of Defense but there are some nuances being put into place which will officially mark the transfer of function to DHA.”

After the formal establishment of the Puget Sound Military Health System Market, December, 2021, to officially oversee, manage and support all Army, Navy and Air Force medical and dental assets in the Pacific Northwest, the transition process is continuing after being put on temporary hold due to major efforts helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in the last two years.

“Our people are the primary focus of this realignment process. We are committed to providing timely, concise and accurate information on our entire process,” said Capt. Pat Fitzpatrick, NHB director and NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer.

Just as Fitzpatrick is duel-hatted in overseeing both NHB and NMRTC Bremerton staff, all MTF staff – civilian and active duty – will continue to work as one team under his direction in delivering the same high quality patient-care as before to all eligible beneficiaries.

The entire transfer process is known as the Realignment of Personnel, Property and Systems, and part of a congressional mandate to merge Air Force, Army and Navy military hospitals and clinics to the DHA. The overarching goal is to create a resilient, cohesive, and connected military health system.

“The only change any civil service personnel should see is when it’s time to renew their CAC (common access card) which will change from Department of Navy to Department of Defense,” noted Mr. Brock Logan, Navy Medicine Human Resource expert.

What the entire transition process means for the approximately 284,000 active duty service members, retirees and family in the greater Puget Sound region – including over 80,000 eligible in NHB’s area alone – is that all will have standardized care at Madigan Army Medical Center, Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor, Air Force’s 62nd Medical Squadron and NHB.

Each MTF is linked via the Department of Defense electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, to enhance teamwork and collaboration between all services in providing patient-centered care to all eligible beneficiaries. This also includes standardizing processes like appointments and referrals to ensure wherever service members and their families go, care will be consistent.

Along with most Navy Medicine civil service civilians becoming DHA civilians, there will be property and systems also transitioning, including vehicles, property leases, supplies and property books. Amongst systems switching over will also be payroll systems, records management and task management systems and support agreements.

Anticipated Changes being implemented:
• Human Resource needs handled by the Civilian Human Resources Agency (CHRA)
• CHRA will provide transition support, recruitment/placement, classification, labor and management/employee relations, work force development.
• Benefits will be handled via the Army Benefits Center-Civilian.
• Accrued compensatory time will be paid out.
• Use or lose – accumulated compensatory travel (time) must be used before the transition. It will not carry over.
• Time-off awards reinstated.
• Telework status to be determined.
• DHA pay day is first Friday after pay period ends.

What will remain the same (no action required by personnel):
• General Schedule salary and wages.
• Annual leave and sick leave balances.
• Government retirements and benefits.
• Same payroll database/timekeeping remains in place with Automated Time Attendance Production System (ATAAPS).
• Current position descriptions of major duties, responsibilities, work to be performed
• Work schedules.
• Defense Performance Management and Appraisal (DPMAP) still used for performance planning.
• If a staff member is currently a bargaining unit employee in their position, the status quo will stay the same.
• Continue to work as one team to deliver high quality care to patient population.

“It is advised that all civil service staff transitioning over to DHA print and save their civilian records, especially their current Leave and Earning Statement,” remarked Logan.

Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, 39th Surgeon General of the Navy, and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery sent a message to all hands indicating that by the end of the year, approximately 8,600 Department of Navy civilians employed at Navy Medicine commands will transfer to the DHA and become DoD employees.

“To all of our civilians in the Navy and DHA, thank you for your dedication and commitment to warfighter and beneficiary care. No matter which organization you belong to for pay purposes our combined efforts are essential to supporting the health and readiness of our Sailors, Marines, and the Joint Force as we project medical power for America,” wrote Gillingham.

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