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CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — The Navy recently announced a change to its medical system, realigning command and control of all Navy medical treatment facilities under the military command of Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

The change, announced July 13 by Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, creates three regional commands: Navy Medicine West in San Diego; Navy Medicine East in Norfolk, Va.; and Navy Medicine National Capital Area, in Bethesda, Md. The realignment puts all U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa’s control activities under the direction of Navy Medicine West, according to Amanda Woodhead, hospital spokeswoman.

The realignment provides the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery the “authority to effectively and efficiently direct the collective assets of Navy Medicine to maintain readiness and deliver the highest quality care,” stated Vice Adm. Donald Arthur, chief of the bureau, in a release.

While most beneficiaries won’t notice a direct change at the hospital, Lt. David L. Tullison, Okinawa Naval hospital’s director of financial resources, said operations should now run smoother.

“The decentralization of BUMED will lead to a more efficient organization as a whole,” Tullison said. “This will have a domino effect on each [medical treatment facility] resulting in standardized business practices, leading to dollar savings and improved access.”

Tullison went on to say the only impact local operations should have is quicker funding for renovation projects.

“With the new system, I believe any issues we have can be resolved in our new region without over burdening BUMED directly,” he said. “This will lead to timelier resolutions.”

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