By Patricia Deal
CRDAMC Public Affairs
FORT HOOD (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas—Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s commitment to safety was doubly rewarded as the hospital was presented with both the Army Safety and Occupational Health Star Site certificate and banner, plus the Army Safety Excellence Streamer in a ceremony here November 6.
To earn The Army Safety and Occupational Health Star Site commendation, medical treatment facilities must demonstrate through an Army Safety and Health Management System audit that they have successfully implemented a culture of safety where all members of the organization understand their role in promoting a safe environment.
ASHMS was implemented by the Army Medical Command in 2012 to promote excellence in safety management systems throughout MEDCOM. Medical facilities with ASHMS in place are safer workplaces which allows employees more time to concentrate on providing high-quality, safe care to their beneficiaries.
Typically, smaller MTFs are able to achieve “Star Status” relatively quickly but it’s more of a challenge for larger medical centers, according to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson, commanding general, Regional Health Command-Central, who presented the Star Site certificate and banner to CRDAMC.
“There’s a little over two hundred different units that could get this recognition, but only 10 percent pass,” Johnson said. “The ASHMS program is not like a checklist where you get a get a list of 100 things to do and then just check off things as you complete them. The program is actually more interested in what is culture—the overall philosophy and theme of your organization. Is it centered on safety? Or is it distracted by all of the other things that we do in a normal routine. This is why medical centers have a harder time getting this accomplished, because, how do you get 4,000 people all moving in the same direction?”
Having earned Star Site status is a great accomplishment Johnson told staff and demonstrates that each and every member of the CRDAMC team is passionate about safety and committed to providing high-quality care to their patients.
Col. David Gibson, CRDAMC commander, said he was proud to accept the award today and thanked staff for all their efforts but said it came with a challenge.
“When it comes to safety, it’s a destination. We have not arrived. We can’t just rest on our laurels now because we have a certificate,” Gibson said. “This is a journey that CRDAMC started before I came here and it’s a journey that we continue down. My challenge to you is that we don’t lose our status. We must incorporate this in everything we do. Every year we have 1.43 million opportunities to get it right. Those are our beneficiaries. They’re coming here for their care and are counting on you. You need to stay vigilant.”
The CRDAMC Safety department doesn’t plan on letting up on the momentum, according to Manuel Robles, manager of the department.
“It’s been pretty much four years in the making. The audit happens every three years but ours was delayed a year because of our move into the new hospital,” Robles said. “But once the audit began, it went really well. Normally it is a four-day process, but the inspectors left after three without finding any faults. They said they were looking hard, too, but couldn’t come up with anything. They did have some recommendations for us to improve some of our forms and processes and we will keep working hard to implement those over the next three years.”
In addition to CRDAMC being named an Army Safety and Occupational Health Star Site, the MEDCEN has also earned the Army Safety Excellence Streamer for completing 12 consecutive months without experiencing a Soldier or “unit at fault” Class A or Class B accident, achieving 100 percent completion of Risk Management training and completing the Army Readiness Assessment Program. To celebrate this achievement, CRDAMC is authorize to affix the Army Safety Excellence Streamer to the CRDAMC colors.