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September 2011

Official Newsletter of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

Vol. 3, Iss. 9

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Christopher Scarce (left) and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joshua Buttler are on the “Honor Team,” the section that verifies medical records at USS Tranquillity. (All photos by Jayna Legg)

USS Tranquillity mission: Get recruits to the fleet 85 Hospital Corpsmen are backbone of clinic staff By Jayna Legg Lovell FHCC Public Affairs

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Hospitalman Daniel Anderson, Physical Therapy Technician, monitors a recuperating recruit’s workout in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitative Therapy. In addition to visiting SMART, injured and ill recruits receive mental health care and go to sick call at USS Tranquillity and its three clinics in the barracks at Recruit Training Command. Special physicals for flight crew members, rescue swimmers, divers and other sailors going into Special Warfare also are provided at USS Tranquillity.

fter the hectic days of in-processing, U.S. Navy recruits have many long, difficult days ahead of them before they graduate. Intense physical training can lead to sports injuries. Viruses spread quickly in close quarters. Some need in-depth physicals for their chosen specialties. And other recruits just need a little help when sleep deprivation and stress take their toll. For all those reasons and more, hundreds of recruits a week visit USS Tranquillity, one of four Branch Medical Clinics that are part of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. “We’re taking care of recruits no matter what’s going on,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Juan Johnson, the senior enlisted advisor at the clinic, which is on the grounds of Recruit Training Command (RTC) in North Chicago, Ill. “And we’re getting them out into the fleet.” The close-knit staff of 140 active duty Navy personnel and civilian employees are proud to work at USS Tranquillity, where the main floor halls are named after the Navy values of Honor, Courage and Commitment, and the Special Physicals section is called “Team Valor.” The backbone of the staff is its 85 Navy Hospital Corpsmen, Johnson said. They are enlisted medical specialists who are cross-trained to perform a number of duties, from Honor Team members “stuffing records” in the medical records verification section to medical assistants taking vital signs in the treatment room. Corpsmen even work in the supply room. (Continued on page 3)

In This Issue... Immunization Nurse Specialist Stephen Dolak recognized with award

Lovell Legends win 15 medals at Veterans Wheelchair Games

Continuing Promise deployment ends for Lovell FHCC Sailors

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Leadership Commentary It’s been an amazing year of accomplishments: Thank you!

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hat an amazing year we’ve had. As we approach the first anniversary of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in October, I can’t help but reflect on the astounding strides we have made.

federal health care center. We restructured, created new services, integrated more than 500 Policy Instructions, and established the FHCC as a DOD/VBA/VHA collaboration site providing an Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Under the Lovell FHCC banner, we continued old traditions and started new ones as we began building a new culture that is the best of the VA and the Navy. Also, through this August, we’ve cared for more than 4,000 inpatients and had approximately 852,000 patient visits to the East and West Campus and our Community Based Outpatient Clinics.

We cut the ribbon for our new medical surgical ward. We broke ground for our new Green House Homes. We activated the West Campus addition and moved out of the Navy Health Clinic Building 200H. Sept. 1 we cut By Patrick L. Sullivan the ribbon on the first Caregiver Support Center and a few days later began Lovell FHCC Director welcoming home our 21 Sailors who deployed for Operation Continuing Promise on board the USNS Comfort in Central and South America.

These accomplishments don’t just happen. They come about through the dedication and very hard work of our 3,000 military and civilian employees, and let’s not forget – more than 1,000 volunteers. From bringing dogs in for pet therapy, to delivering reading materials to patients and acting as greeters, volunteers play an integral role. Our first birthday is not about ribbon-cuttings and new buildings. It is a celebration of our unity as the diverse military and civilian staff of the very first health care facility of its kind in the nation. We should all feel very proud of what we have accomplished. If I haven’t thanked you personally, I want to say now, on behalf of our patients, thank you for all you do to ensure we are Readying Warriors and Caring for Heroes. I look forward to many great things for Lovell FHCC in the coming year.

We’ve continued to advance electronic health records integration, despite many obstacles. We’ve hosted countless VIP visits to promote the great work we’re doing. We’ve promoted 125 Sailors. We have plans for a university-quality education center. The list goes on and on. All of this was accomplished as we brought together the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to stand up the first

FHCC athletes win medals at Wheelchair Games Seven Veterans brought home 15 medals from national competition in Pittsburgh swimming, 9-ball pool and other events. “I am especially proud of the team spirit and camaraderie, which was remarkable,” Fleming said. “When some of our team members were not in an event, they came out to team members’ competition to cheer them on and support each other.” The trip included a block party for the Veterans, their families and coaches at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Legends also had the chance to see the Chicago Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates, and as a bonus, “the Cubs swept the series,” Fleming said.

Above, Dan Dorsch, of Evanston, Ill., won a gold medal in swimming. Below, David Wells, Gurnee, Ill., won a silver medal in softball. (Photos by Karen Fleming)

By Jayna Legg Lovell FHCC Public Affairs

In total, the Lovell Legends brought home 15 medals. Steve Aoyagi of Des Plaines, Ill., took gold in table tennis and motor rally. Karen Van Benschoten, from Racine, Wis., took gold in the slalom, motor rally, 9-ball pool and Power 200, and silver in table tennis. Ramon Calderon, Waukegan, Ill., won silver in weightlifting and bronze in basketball. Dan Dorsch, Evanston, Ill., won gold in swimming. Nate Davenport, a resident of the Community Living Center, took the gold in the Power 200 and silver in Power Soccer. Gary Garland, also a FHCC CLC resident, won bronze in the Power 200 and silver in the motor rally. David Wells, Gurnee, Ill., won a silver medal in softball.

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porting new shirts and hats with their new team name, the seven disabled Veteran athletes on the Lovell Legends team swept the competition at the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games in August, bringing home medals of all three colors from Pittsburgh. “I think it was the best games we have participated in yet,” said Lovell FHCC Recreation Therapist Karen Fleming, who coaches the team along with Susan Brunner, also a FHCC Recreation Therapist. “From the transportation, volunteers, special events, meals for the athletes, competition venues, everything was well-planned and exceptionally well done!”

The Lovell Legends team is made up of five outpatient Veterans and two residents of the FHCC’s Community Living Center. Lovell athletes participated in power soccer, softball, weightlifting, baseball, slalom, motor rally, table tennis, 2

The Apollo The Apollo is the official newsletter of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. It is published monthly for staff members, Veterans, military family members and volunteers. The newsletter is designed and published at the Lovell FHCC in the Communications Department. 3001 Green Bay Rd. North Chicago, Illinois 60064 224-610-3714 www.lovell.fhcc.va.gov

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issuu.com/lovellfhcc Director, Capt. Lovell Federal Health Care Center Patrick L. Sullivan, FACHE Deputy Director, Capt. Lovell Federal Health Care Center Capt. David Beardsley, MC, USN Lovell FHCC Communications Department Head Mary Schindler Public Affairs Officer Jonathan E. Friedman Public Affairs Specialist Jayna M. Legg Submissions to the publication can be emailed to lovellfhcc.media@va.gov Factual Accuracy and Disclaimer: Accuracy is very important to us and we want to correct mistakes promptly. If you believe a factual error has been published, please bring it to our attention by sending an email to lovellfhcc.media@va.gov. Use of any social media product does not imply endorsement on the part of the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs, and may not be available from all government servers. Content on these sites are not edited for accuracy and may not necessarily reflect the views of the federal government.


USS Tranquillity (cont.) (Continued from page 1)

William Brown is one of the first faces recruits see when they come to USS Tranquillity for medical care. Brown, a 25-year civil servant, is a Medical Records Technician. (Photo by Jayna Legg)

“I think the work here is vital, especially what we ask of our very junior corpsmen, straight from Corps School,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kendra Nowak, who heads USS Tranquillity. “If we don’t get these recruits taken care of, from a common cold to getting their medical records squared away, they can’t get to the fleet, and the fleet can’t function without more sailors.” A fixture at the clinic is “Mr. Brown.” William Brown, Medical Records Technician, loves his job. “It’s a great place to work, and what makes it great is the people,” he said. “They are just good people.” Brown, who has been a civil servant for 25 years, the last five at USS Tranquillity, starts his long commute from Chicago at 4:14 a.m. every day. After recruits check in at the Quarterdeck, Brown is “where it all starts,” Nowak said. At Brown’s desk, the medical record that will follow a recruit throughout his or her Navy career begins its journey. Brown said he handles anywhere from 300 to 400 records a day.

“Every enlisted person going into those fields in the Navy passes through here,” said Navy Capt. Clifton Woodford.

from pneumonia. “We’re getting his chest to expand back up,” explained Long, a Physical Therapy Technician.

“Our job is to make sure the person can safely go and do what they want to do,” said Woodford, a family practice doctor who said his job at USS Tranquillity is fast-paced and challenging.

“Pneumonia makes your chest muscles get weak. We’re trying to get him back to where he can do regular physical training,” Long said.

The number of Special Physical visits at USS Tranquillity also provides mental health Tranquillity is about 260 a week, Nowak said, care to recruits, which encompasses a myriad which equates to more than 13,000 visits annually. of services for many conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders. That can A steady stream of recruits visits the SMART mean patients with extensive mental health section of the clinic – Sports Medicine and treatment histories or recruits who need care Rehabilitative Therapy. On a recent Friday for issues that develop during basic training. morning, the SMART room looked like any civilian health club – packed with patrons working In some cases, “we provide reassurance,” out on an array of treadmills, weight machines and Nowak said. “Some of them think they are other exercise equipment. The difference was the going crazy because they are sleep-deprived number of attentive therapists, who charted and stressed. Most of the recruits do make it progress on clipboards as they monitored each through and graduate,” she pointed out. sailor’s efforts. One mental health focus is Psychological By the treadmills, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Resilience Outreach, or PRO, which helps Andrew Long worked with a sailor recovering recruits in medical hold status keep motivated while they heal.

If you can diagnose it with a basic physical exam or an otoscope, ophthalmoscope, stethoscope and vital signs, then they can take care of it out there.” Lt. Cmdr. Kendra Novak, who heads USS Tranquillity

Also in the mental health section, recruits waiting to be medically discharged from the Navy may receive counseling from social workers. “Most of them really wanted to be here and stay in the Navy,” Nowak said, “so there’s a transition they have to go through when they are discharged for medical reasons.” The operations at USS Tranquillity “are a confusing machine, but a well-oiled one,” said Nowak, who added that leading the clinic has, hands-down, been the most challenging job she has had in her 15 years in the Navy.

“I just love working with the recruits,” Brown said.

Why is “Tranquillity” spelled that way?

Nearly 37,000 recruits come through Naval Station Great Lakes RTC annually, which results in about 2,750 visits to USS Tranquillity in the average week, Nowak said. The main clinic is open seven days a week. Medical staff also see patients at three sick call locations in the barracks, which saves recruits a trip to USS Tranquillity.

Some may wonder why Tranquillity is spelled differently. Because the Lovell FHCC clinic is named after the ship, the spelling is the same as the official name of USS Tranquillity (AH-14), a 15,400ton Haven class hospital ship that served on active duty during World War II.

“If you can diagnose it with a basic physical exam or an otoscope, ophthalmoscope, stethoscope, and vital signs, then they can take care of it out there,” Nowak said.

Although USS Tranquillity was only in use for a year, it’s known for transporting survivors from the sunken cruiser USS Indianapolis, from the Palau Islands to Guam.

The “common cold” is the most frequent diagnosis, Nowak said, although USS Tranquillity sees patients for many other reasons, including those who want to pursue career fields with more stringent physical requirements. Special Physicals include those for flight crews, rescue swimmers, divers and Special Warfare jobs, for example SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen. Sailors who want to serve on submarines also get Special Physicals.

On July 11, 1945, the USS Tranquillity steamed to Ulithi atoll in the Caroline Islands and became the base hospital ship for the USS Indianapolis rescue.

Hospital Corpsman Elyjah Bennett takes the vital signs of a patient in the Treatment Room at USS Tranquillity. (Photo by Jayna Legg)

More photos @ Facebook.com/LovellFHCC

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The ship had a bed capacity of 802 and a crew of 568 officers and enlisted sailors. It was one of the Navy’s first airconditioned ships and was equipped with 85,000 cubic feet of medical storage space and a 100-bed field hospital. When the war ended, USS Tranquillity brought hundreds of injured men from the Pacific back to the United States as part of Operation “Magic Carpet.”


FHCC Navy team provides medical care in Central America

Left, Lt. Cmdr. Francine Worthington escorts a patient into the Escuela Barra de Santiago medical site in El Salvador. (Photo by Senior Airman Kasey Close) Above right, in Haiti, Lt. Joshua Fair is assisted by Canadian Army Master Cpl. Joan Flecknell (Photo by Navy Mass Communication Spc. 1st Class Brian A. Goyak) Below left, in Costa Rica, HM2 Lester Dixon examines a patient's teeth. (Photo by Brian Goyak) Below right, Cmdr. Tim Ackerman explains a procedure to a patient at a medical site in Barranca, Costa Rica. (Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson) All photos courtesy of USNS Comfort Public Affairs

Kudos Corner Immunization Nurse Specialist Stephen Dolak recognized by American Nurses Association When U.S. Navy and other military service personnel at Naval Station Great Lakes are deployed overseas, they can thank Immunization Nurse Specialist Stephen W. Dolak, for protecting them against vaccine-preventable diseases that are prevalent worldwide or endemic to certain lands. For his initiatives that dramatically improved the immunization program at Lovell Federal Health Care Center’s Fisher Branch Medical Clinic, Dolak earned the American Nurses Association Immunity Award for June. Since 2008, Dolak has worked as Immunization Nurse Specialist at Great Lakes. He has specialized in identifying problems with vaccine administration and implementing changes to improve immunization rates, efficiency and service standards.

Dolak’s supervisor, Dr. Gregory Kaftan, Division Officer of the FHCC’s occupational health medicine department, credits him for bringing “energy to a program that had languished.

vaccine. Through his monitoring of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization recommendations, Dolak implemented a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program for males.

“He has demonstrated clear leadership in promoting comprehensive immunizations programs that stay in step with the everchanging vaccination guidelines and schedules,” Kaftan said.

Previously, the vaccine, which prevents certain types of cancer and other illnesses, had been given only to female Navy recruits.

Dolak advocated a redesign of the immunizations facilities that allowed the handling of a larger volume of patients. His improvements helped increase the compliance rate for tuberculosis skin test interpretive readings from 60 percent to 95 percent. Dolak also improved the vaccine program to protect against yellow fever, while also devising a plan to reduce waste of multi-dose vials of the

and energy constantly pushing for the use of the state-of-the-art thinking in vaccinations on behalf of our sailors, retirees, civilians and active duty personnel.” Story courtesy of the American Nurses Association

“His collaboration with his colleagues has greatly improved the immunization practice,” Kaftan said. “The Navy and the Veterans Administra- Immunization Nurse Specialist Stephen Dolak specializes tion are lucky to have in identifying problems with vaccine administration. a nurse of his caliber (Photo by Mary Waterman) 4


The Apollo Newsletter (Sept. 2011)