Navy Consultant’s Report

Navy Consultant’s Report

Timothy Mott, MD
Naval Hospital Pensacola, FL

It was amazing to have spent time with so many of you at the most recent USAFP conference—a perennial source of motivation, rejuvenation, community, and learning. We were fortunate to have had three RDMLs attend and contribute to our breakout session—RDML Lane, RDML Pearigen and RDML(ret) Jeffries. Additionally, not only was CAPT James Ellzy sworn in as the new President of the USAFP, but he also received the USAFP’s Michael J. Scotti Family Physician of the Year award—congratulations James! Next year’s meeting will take place at the Sawgrass Marriott Hotel just south of Jacksonville, FL from March 15-19. The “Call for Speakers” has been announced and you can go to the USAFP website for more information.

I’m going to cover a few highlights and updates from the meeting and since…Conference Approval. Although there isn’t solid confirmation yet, I am confident that everyone will see changes to the conference approval process that will make it more user-friendly and locally managed. This will be similar to how the Army and Air Force have moved after the most recent DoD Conference Guidance. Stand by, but for now, the BUMED Conference Approval web link is still your best and most current resource. Go to the Navy Medicine website and click on the “Conference Information” link. Thank you all for your exemplary and uninterrupted fiscal responsibility that has allowed this pendulum to start moving back to a land of trust, professionalism, and local accountability.

Promotion. There is great news in the fact that both the O-6 and O-5 “promotion opportunities” have increased. The rates are 80% for O-6 (up 10% from FY17 and 30% from FY16) and 75% for O-5 (up 10% from FY17 and 5% from FY16). Recall, however, that those percentages represent the fraction of the “in zone” number of individuals, and deserving folks “above zone” and “below zone” will also get promoted and “take away” (if you will) promotions from those “in zone.” Therefore, the actual “in zone” selection rate is always lower than the “promotion opportunity” rate. Nonetheless, this is great news and we should hear about a number of deserving Family Physicians (FPs) being promoted to CAPT and CDR prior to our next newsletter.

Medical Corps Career Roadmap. We had a healthy discussion in Seattle about “the best” career roadmap for FPs to promote through the ranks. I sense that some people didn’t hear as much reassurance as they’d like, particularly for those FPs who spend the majority of their career on the pointy end of operational medicine. It is a fact that the convening orders always stress promoting those with “sustained superior performance,” and superior performance is best demonstrated by breaking out from a group of peers, but is difficult when in “one-of-one” billets (which most operational billets are). Reading the “Additional Considerations” of recent selection board convening orders, however, reassures me that such integral and strongly mission-aligned billets will receive due consideration. My ongoing advice for maximizing your promotion opportunity remains the same regardless: strive for diversity in billet types and location, and lead! Please reach out to me to review your own unique career path, motivations and trajectory.

USUHS. Yet again, “our” medical school was recognized by the American Academy of Family Physicians for creating an exceptional number of doctors heading into Family Medicine. This year, USUHS ranked 12th overall with nearly 16% of graduates heading into our specialty. Congratulations to CAPT Jeff Quinlan, his campus faculty, and all those across the services who continue to inspire great young USUHS minds to join the ranks of Family Medicine!

Value Based Care. CDR Kris Sanchack provided an update on the Value-Based Care initiative being piloted at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville. I’m not going to cover that in depth as I plan to have a more complete update on this

in the summer issue, but nonetheless, if you haven’t familiarized yourself with this project yet, do so. Here are a couple of links to help with that:

Medical Home Port. CDR Leo Carney updated us on progress with the Medical Home Port, letting us know that we continue to exceed access benchmarks with double-digit improvements over the past year in both “3rd next” acute (17%) and routine (23%) visits. Additionally, beneficiaries get 94% of their primary care in our facilities- be proud of your vast contributions to those who serve!

Transgender (TG) Update. CDR Cormac O’Connor and LCDR Janelle Marra, each of whom are involved with the BUMED roll-out of processes related to TG care, provided us current updates and guidance. Online training has also rolled out to further inform us on these processes. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to either Cormac or Janelle for guidance.

National Defense Authorization Act 2017 (NDAA-2017). RDML Lane graciously prepared us for what should be significant changes in how Navy (and military) medicine performs. Although there are many questions remaining, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) is evolving as the single agency with oversight of the health and readiness of the DoD. The NDAA-2017 stresses that health benefits are a means to an end, not the end itself, and that optimum health supports readiness (which is directly linked to operational support). This may seem intuitive, but it certainly is a highlighted aspect of this Act. With that in mind, one of my personal “takeaways” is that FPs remain very well positioned regardless of changes.

Family Medicine Specialty Leader. Lastly, my tenure is coming to an end and I am accepting packages from those interested in becoming the next Family Medicine Specialty Leader. By direction of the BUMED Corps Chief’s Office and their “SOP for Specialty Leader Selection” we will utilize the following objective selection system: 

  1. Interested parties should submit the following tome (due date June 30th):
  • — CV,
  • — Biography,
  • –OSR/PSR,
  • — Last three fitness reports
  • — Letter of intent
  1.  I will utilize express guidance from the Corps Chief’s Office to assess packages and forward to the BUMED Policy and Practice Officer (PPO) (due date July 31st).
  1.  The BUMED PPO will convene a panel of at least three MC officers and utilize their own assessment matrix for each candidate (August –September).
  1.  The Deputy Corps Chief will convene a meeting with the panel and finalize a recommendation to the Chief of the Medical Corps (August September).
  1.  The Chief of the Medical Corps will perform interviews of the top candidates and final recommendations will be forwarded to the Surgeon General for concurrence (SeptemberOctober).
  1. The Corps Chief will notify the incumbent of the selection, and subsequently the selectee will be notified (October).
  1. Turnover of duties will occur during October-November timeframe with face-to-face time at the GME Selection Board.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any specific guidance or questions.

It remains an immense privilege to serve with you. Thank you for all your contributions to something that is much bigger than yourself. Be well!