Local military medical units combine into medical market
By Ilka Cole
/ Published November 22, 2021
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 96th Medical Group and Defense Health Agency leadership marked the forming of a new military medical organization during a market establishment ceremony here, Nov. 15.
The new organization, known as the Florida Panhandle Market, is a transformation of northwest Florida-based military treatment facilities into a market, or group of military medical facilities working together within the military health system.
Since October 2019, the military health system has transitioned administration, direction and management of all military hospitals and clinics from the military departments to the DHA. To do so effectively, the DHA chose a market approach, based on the six enhanced multi-service markets already in place.
The Florida Panhandle Market unites area medical units from the Air Force, Navy and Army into a single system operating together. Sharing patients, staff, budgets and resources improves readiness and health care services for service members and their families, according to DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place.
The aim is to standardize health care processes and optimize resources to improve the patient experience and support the readiness of service members and the local medical force in the region.
“It’s an important moment for military medicine, especially in the Florida panhandle community. The medical leaders from the 11 facilities and clinics in the region have been working together for many years. Their work makes today possible,” said Place.
The 96th MDG’s Commander, Col. Gregory Coleman, becomes the director of the Florida Panhandle Market, which serves more than 175,000 beneficiaries at military units from Pensacola to Panama City.
Beneficiaries seeking care throughout the market community will see more common processes, including a standard health record system and easier access to health care, according to Place.
“As a market, I know we are in our infancy, but I know we are dedicated to the task at hand of ensuring we deliver ready, reliable care to the right patient at the right time,” said Coleman. “We envision the Florida Panhandle Market to be the gold standard for force readiness and beneficiary health. “
The Florida Panhandle Market is comprised of hospitals and clinics at Eglin, Hurlburt Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola and Tyndall.