Naval Hospital Okinawa bests all DoD overseas hospitals

9 Mar 2007 | Lance Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso

U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa stood out among all overseas Department of Defense hospitals in 2006, earning special recognition at the 2007 Military Health System Conference for the hospital's care of pregnant mothers and their babies.

Navy Capt. Peter F. O'Connor, the USNH Okinawa commanding officer, presented his staff with the TRICARE Obstetric Care Patient Satisfaction Award Feb. 22 at the Camp Lester Chapel.

The hospital received the award for having the highest inpatient satisfaction rating for the care of women and their babies during pregnancy and about six weeks after child birth.

According to the award citation, the hospital provided excellent care by listening to patients and treating their concerns. The staff was also responsive to the physical and emotional requirements of all its patients.

"It's really good to see some recognition for the hard work our staff puts in all year," O'Connor said. "The staff worked hard to care for all the service members and families in Japan and the operating theater. With more than 100 deliveries a month, keeping the patients satisfied is a marvelous feat."

O'Connor also recognized Navy Cmdr. Elizabeth Beazley, a family medicine physician, with the TRICARE Health Innovations Program Award.

In 2005, clinics on Camp Foster and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma stopped treating civilian patients. This change caused a decline in patient care and satisfaction.

Beazley led a team that  increased patients' access to care when it opened the Lester Family Medicine Clinic.

"We gained 5,000 family members because of the unique clinical situation," Beazley said. "We analyzed the problem and developed a plan to change the clinic's settings and increase the amount of doctors, family medicine physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and corpsmen in the section."

As a result of the team's hard work, patient satisfaction increased by 400 percent and wait time decreased by 75 percent, according to the award citation.

"I get stopped at the commissary because people say the care at the hospital is so wonderful," O'Connor said. "We worked on this problem for over a year and a half. The patient dissatisfaction we saw then can't be seen today, and that's how it should be."
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