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years, and years. It would just be awful if, having moved into the new facility, you all cut staff, so keep an eye on that.

General CHESNEY. Mr. Congressman, I went over yesterday our physician manpower for this year and for next year and looked at it, and, as far as I can tell, we will not lose any, and I know of no reason to cut Charleston Clinic. I will go back and check on that one clinic and make sure, but, as far as I know, you can guarantee to your people that we will at least continue care at the level we are now, and that is my goal and promise to them, sir. If it is different, I will send you a letter.

Mr. RAVENEL. Good. Fine. Thank you, sir.
General CHESNEY. Thank you.

Mr. RAVENEL. Admiral Zimble, you and I have been through this so many times, and the committee has heard me so many times that they could give my little speech as well as I could, probably do it backwards. Anyhow, for the edification of those who are not familiar with what is going on down in the Charleston area, the approach that the Navy is using down there with their catchment area management demonstration project, General Chesney, I hope you folks will be included in it and participate in it. We have got about 95,000 active duty beneficiaries, retirees, and their dependents down there. We have superb physical facilities really, well equipped. We have 30 percent up to now, although they are increasing, and we see the increase, and we feel it, and we get reports on it constantly, that the regular Navy personnel there are slowly but steadily increasing.

But we have these excellent facilities, a 500-bed hospital in Charleston with only 120 beds, I think, operable and open. But in the area we have a surplus, and a decided surplus, of total medical personnel. We have a large medical university there. They turn out 165 physicians on an annual basis, the president, a former governor, former Secretary of Energy, classmate of mine, really a surplus of for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals, HMO's; our cup runneth over with total medical personnel.

The suggestion was made, which you all have acted affirmatively on, to give the hospital commander down there wide authority to go into the private sector and contract with any of those hospitals or a consortium of them, including any large firms or even individuals who want to participate to contract for the services to get us up to full utilization of the hospital and its ancillary services to be provided in the facilities, which is exactly what we want.

I note that you are having some doubts about your funding capabilities. I just certainly hope that you will be able to shake loose the money. We would certainly be interested, when the demonstration project comes on stream, that you will be able to give us some firm figures as to the difference on what it costs to put somebody out on CHAMPUS and whether you can treat them in the facilities, because I think that will auger well for not only Navy medicine but the rest of military medicine.

It seems to me that, in the wording in the authorization act of last year, once you get your stuff together and you say, “Look, this is what we want to do," to coalesce your plans as soon as possible

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on your request. It seems to me and staff that it is permitted in the wording of the act.

Admiral ZIMBLE. Mr. Ravenel, my rumor mill tells me that you think I'm being lukewarm in that process, and I want to assure you that I have never been lukewarm about anything, especially the catchment area management system, which I think is a marvelous idea, a way to give that commanding officer, that dedicated commanding officer, the opportunity to use the dollars he is provided most prudently.

I think the fact that Charleston's cup runs over makes it the ideal location. It was one of the primary reasons why I chose Charleston to be the catchment area model for Dr. Mayer.

I have a litany that I can go through, but I can also, if you permit, provide it for the record. Basically, it says I have invested some people in Charleston. We are working closely with the Air Force, because they are way ahead of us on this project, in order to develop a good implementation plan. The plan has been promised to me by the end of next week, which was the deadline I gave it. I plan to hand carry that, through my secretary, to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and wherever it then needs to go to get the final approval. Nothing will make me happier than getting that started and on the street as soon as possible. I think it will be a model that we are going to have to use for the short term, at least for the interim, until we can grow to be ten feet tall. That is what we are going to have to do in many of our facilities.

So the fact that this model gets out and gets started is something that has my full enthusiastic support.

Mr. RAVENEL. Do you feel then that you are going to be able to find the funding in house?

Admiral ZIMBLE. We will find the funding, because I think we are going to find that it is prudent. I think we are going to find we can do it better; we can do it less expensively. The money is there now. We will be using some CHAMPUS dollars to do it. We know that CHAMPUS is underfunded; there is going to be some reprogramming. We have to pay yesterday's bills as well as invest in opportunities for cost savings in tomorrow's bills. Those things, unfortunately, always come together and collide at one point in time. So we will have some big bills to pay. But they are coming out of CHAMPUS funding, and that should not be a problem.

Mrs. BYRON. Mr. Weldon.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Madam Chairman.

First of all, in response to the testimony of the surgeon general, let me reiterate my support for exempting health care professionals from end strength limitations. I fully endorse that concept and will support it at every opportunity.

I just want to take a moment to thank you, Admiral Zimble, for your work in the Delaware Valley area in addressing the medical needs of the personnel in that area. I think because of your personal appearance there and your interest things have begun to look up, and I appreciate that.

My only question to you is, in light of what I have heard today in relation to the closing or potential closing of Letterman, when the ultimate report is issued by DOD and Dr. Mayer's office on health care delivery in the area, who will make the ultimate decision on the Philadelphia Naval Hospital?

Admiral ZIMBLE. That is going to depend upon the economic analysis. If there is a requirement and everybody supports the requirement for a new hospital-and, of course, we have got to get busy and start doing some programming to staff that new hospital, and we have to get it in the budget for the MilCon program, and then it has to go to DMFO, the Defense Medical Facilities Office, et cetera. So that is going to be downstream. Once that decision is made, however, I think we can keep the current hospital, although built in 1933, we can keep it and nurture it to allow it to survive until that point in time.

Hopefully, we will have a catchment area plan model that we can look to as well to see how we can accommodate that model within the Delaware Valley and certainly within the catchment area of the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. That hospital is near and dear to me. It is the hospital from which I made the decision to join the Navy.

I think it is important to point out that Navy had three teaching hospitals at one time north of Bethesda, in the Northeast corridor. That was Philadelphia, St. Albans, and Chelsea. Chelsea is closed; St. Albans has been turned over to the VA, and we use it as an out-patient clinic; and Philadelphia is now down to its lowest staffing in its entire history.

All three of those hospitals enjoyed being in communities where there were many other teaching institutions and universities and were ideal locations for graduate medical education. Due to the lack of nourishment, due to the lack of iron and vitamins and a balanced diet, those three hospitals expired. We would like to revive one. I think it is imperative that we revive it ultimately, in the long out-years, to another graduate medical education teaching facility. But, again, I don't want to anticipate the results of the analysis that is currently being done.

Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Mrs. BYRON. Mr. Ray.
Mr. Ray. Thank you, Madam Chairman.

Gentlemen, it is good of you to come today and to hear your testimony.

I have two or three questions and then a comment or two, if I might, Madam Chairman.

Admiral Zimble, I want to tell you that yesterday I spent a day at Bethesda and went through a rather extensive and delicate annual physical, and I couldn't have been more pleased. Contrary to what one of my colleagues wrote not long ago, I didn't have any problem at all.

Second, are you familiar with a psychiatric demonstration project ongoing in the Norfolk area, I think it is to a contractor called First Step, and you are getting ready to consider renewing that contract-is that right?--for the third year.

Admiral ZIMBLE. Yes, sir.

Mr. Ray. Well, let me tell you that I have been going through some rather delicate and intensive reviews with a number of people that are very unhappy and dissatisfied with the service that contract allows for certain psychiatric cases is just not adequate. Before that is renewed, I hope you will give some of us a chance to talk to you a little bit about it.

Admiral ZIMBLE. Yes, we would be happy to.

Mr. Ray. Second, General Becker, it is good to be with you here today. I have been told that some of the program PRIMUS nearly fell under the budget ax in the last budget drill within the Pentagon. I am not sure that is correct, but since one has just been granted for Fort Benning, GA, it has been overwhelmingly accepted, and I have been kind of classified as the hero for getting it there with the help of this committee, and I hope that that program is secure. What would you think?

General BECKER. The one at Fort Benning is alive and well, I guess, unless some very immediate disaster strikes, but as I sit here, that one is planned to be carried through.

I think we have got a problem that you need to be aware of, and that is, will we be able to carry through the funding in the outyears? That is what is worrying me. But right now that one is on track.

Mr. Ray. I will address that with another comment in just a few minutes, but let me talk a minute about the catchment area demonstration projects that you have going. As you know, this subcommittee recently held a field hearing at Fort Benning, GA, and, based on what we saw and heard there, it was my impression that that facility presently has the management capability to do an excellent job on the catchment area management demonstration project.

I don't mean to be totally parochial on my questions here, but I noticed that when we were interested in it, it did not make the cut, and the Army demonstration projects are going to be conducted at Fort Bragg and Fort Sill, and I think it is important that these demonstration projects be done in locations where the commander and the staff understand and enthusiastically support the concept. I hope that you will not only watch over these other two very carefully and others but give Fort Benning every consideration for the future. I would be pleased to have any comments you might want to make on that.

General BECKER. There is a little bit of weakness in that project at the moment. That is, Fort Bragg may not be the prime place. So we will reconsider, and I can tell you that Fort Benning is high on the list, and it doesn't have anything to do with you and I being here together today, it is just that that is a good place.

Mr. Ray. OK. I want to put a couple of support comments into the record. I think that legislation ought to be introduced which would lift the ceilings for medical personnel and not, at the same time, at the expense of the other military branches.

Madam Chairman, I would be certainly interested in talking to committee staff and yourself and being helpful in that area at some future point.

Mrs. BYRON. General Chesney has a question.
General CHESNEY. Yes, Ma'am. May I address that?

The language in the congressional bill this year was very unclear. It said exempt physicians and maybe nurses, but it did not say take it out of our-I have got 15,000 officers, I have got 4,000 doctors, and 5,000 nurses. Can I exempt those? Then I have to take double out of the other. If I exempt it that way, does the service have to take for me for what I lost? That is very unclear, and we are right now fighting that.

Mrs. BYRON. We very specifically said you will not take medical personnel cutbacks.

General CHESNEY. OK. I think that we would appreciate clarification of that.

Mrs. BYRON. If I am not mistaken, the language was not just for this year, the language was in there, and the question that we are going to have to address from this side is whether what we were trying to achieve has been achieved and should we repeal that language next year, or shall we leave it in.

General CHESNEY. Yes. I think we need clarification. Thank you.
Mrs. BYRON. OK. I will get the staff with you all on that.
General CHESNEY. All right. Thank you.
Mrs. BYRON. Yes, General.

General BECKER. A suggestion that might help some-because there is a lot of consternation about this officer cut-is that the medical officers be removed from the denominator of-in other words, that the services would suffer a cut of certain percentages, but when we put our numbers into the denominator it really makes it tough for the rest of the service.

Mrs. BYRON. OK.

Mr. Ray. Madam Chairman, I would be an advocate in trying to support that.

Finally, if we are going to give, in my opinion, bonuses and incentives to the glamour branches of the service, so to speak, such as to pilots, $12,000 a year to keep pilots retained, including leather flight jackets, then I really do believe that we ought to look at very strong incentives to the medical service for the future.

Admiral ZIMBLE. Mr. Ray, I would just like to comment that I have taken an initiative, working very closely with our chief of naval personnel, Admiral Bud Edney, to contract to the Center for Naval Analysis, plus putting together working groups, looking at both recruiting and retention, to come together with some things that we think are vital, not just compensation but beyond compensation, and looking not just to the medical corps but to all the various elements of our medical department. I hope to have to this committee some preliminary results of that working group. I think you will find it will be helpful to you.

Mr. Ray. Finally, just a bit of legislation and I am through. There are two proposals currently being considered to increase the transfer authority of the Secretary of Defense from $1.5 billion to $4 billion. The first is a supplemental that DOD will be submitting. It will increase transfer authority from $1.5 billion to $4 billion, allow transfers between fiscal years, allow expired appropriations to go into the foreign currency fluctuation account for expenditures instead of expiring.

The second is the Hansen bill, H.R. 3955, which I introduced and cosponsored in Mr. Hansen's absence that day. It would increase the transfer authority, but it would not allow for the use of expired

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