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NMRTC Beaufort > Command Info > Public Affairs > Naval Hospital Beaufort and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center MRI Grand Opening

Sept. 25, 2012

Naval Hospital Beaufort and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center MRI Grand Opening

BEAUFORT, S.C. – Naval Hospital Beaufort and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, celebrated the grand opening of a new mobile MRI this morning at the naval hospital, Sept. 25. 

The mobile MRI, which was purchased with Joint Incentive Funds (JIF), is located at Naval Hospital Beaufort and will be shared by both Department of Defense (DoD) and VA patients.  The addition of the mobile MRI will enhance the services already shared by DoD and VA patients at the naval hospital, which includes laboratory, radiology, and podiatry. 

The VA and Naval Hospital Beaufort have been partners in delivering quality health care since 2011, when the Beaufort Primary Care Clinic, a VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, opened inside the naval hospital to meet the health care needs of veterans in the Beaufort area.

“Having access to onsite MRI scans will increase the level of care provided to all beneficiaries at our facility whether they are active duty, retired, a family member, or a veteran,” said Captain Joan Queen, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Beaufort.  “Providers will no longer have to wait to receive MRI results, which previously had to be mailed or faxed in.  With quicker access to results, patients will receive a diagnosis faster and appropriate treatment sooner.”

In addition to improving access to care for the naval hospital’s beneficiaries and veterans, the new MRI is anticipated to save money for both organizations.

Currently, all of the naval hospital’s and many VA patients requiring an MRI use TRICARE network services in the Beaufort area.  By providing MRI services at the naval hospital, those referrals to the network by both the VA and DoD will be significantly reduced, generating an estimated annual cost savings of over $500,000 for the naval hospital and approximately $435,000 for the VAMC. 

“Working together, Navy Medicine and the VA can elevate the level of patient and family centered care for service members, retirees and their family members,” said Queen.  “Our sharing arrangement with the VA also helps ease the transition from active duty to veteran as patients can continue receiving the same quality of care, often in the same location, after they leave military service.” 

The partnership between Naval Hospital Beaufort and the VAMC, Charleston, was made possible by the National Defense Authorization Act 2003, Section 721, which authorized the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA Health Care Sharing Incentive Fund.  The purpose of this Act was to provide funding that allowed various local, regional and national entities to coordinate and share health care resources.  The ultimate goal of this joint venture is improving access to quality and cost-effective health care for beneficiaries of both departments. 

Open since 1949, Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical, and emergency services to all active duty personnel, as well as retired military and family members residing in the Beaufort area, a total population of approximately 29,000 beneficiaries.