New Partnership Opens Medical Care Options for Sailors in the Republic of Korea
CHINHAE, Republic of Korea – The branch health clinic at Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae celebrated a new partnership between U.S. Navy and Republic of Korea (ROK) navy medical personnel with a ceremony at the ROK navy's Maritime Medical Center in Chinhae on June 30.
For the first time, a Korean military hospital will be added to the TRICARE Pacific network. This arrangement will provide another option for medical care to Sailors deployed to the southern part of the Korean peninsula.
"Cmdr. Yue,Dong-kil, the prior ROK navy’s Maritime Medical Center general director, and I worked to establish a relationship between our medical facilities around the time the new Maritime Medical Center opened last year in May," said Lt.Cmdr. William Boller, officer in charge of Branch Health Clinic Chinhae. "When I saw the capability in this new, modern Korean navy hospital, we recognized that there was an opportunity to expand options for our patients and strengthen local Republic of Korea –U.S. Navy ties."
Prior to the arrangement, Sailors had to travel to Masan or Busan to be seen at a Korean civilian hospital for all but the most routine medical care. Adding the new ROK navy’s Maritime Medical Center to the International SOS network allows military TRICARE Prime patients to be seen by ROK navy doctors for specialty care and cuts the travel time in half for medical care.
"The ROK navy medical center will provide our Sailors with the ability to receive physical therapy, a CAT scan or MRI closer to home," said Cmdr. Michael Weatherford, commander of Fleet Activities Chinhae. "The facility is state of the art and demonstrates how the U.S. Navy and ROK navy can support each other on a daily basis."
Lt. Cmdr. RandyDee, Chief of Medical Plans with Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea also played a pivotal role in coordinating with International SOS to guide the hospital through the accreditation process.
"We are hopeful that this can be used as a pilot project for other Korean military hospitals," said Dee.
Located on the southeastern coast of the Republic of Korea, CFAC provides service and operational support to the fleet while strengthening the U.S.-ROK alliance through joint armistice, training exercises and contingency operations.