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Kingston congratulates area clinic
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Col. Ronald J. Place, M.D., commander of Winn Army Community Hospital, left, gives U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and other community officials a tour of Richmond Hill Medical Home in the Ways Station Shopping Center on Thursday during an open house at the clinic. - photo by Crissie Elric

RICHMOND HILL — U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., joined community officials and staff of the Richmond Hill Medical Home during an open house Thursday to celebrate nearly 18 months of providing health care to military families.

Since opening in March 2011, the community-based clinic, operated by Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart, has provided primary care, lab services, immunizations, radiology, and behavioral health and pharmacy services to military families and retirees within a 30-mile radius of Fort Stewart.

Kingston, a Savannah resident who represents the 1st District, congratulated the clinic’s staff on the services, and said providing convenient health care to military families is an important part of ensuring American soldiers are ahead of the curve.

“We don’t want our soldiers, our sailors or our airmen to ever have to fight a fair fight,” Kingston told the crowd of about 20 people. “We want them to have the best tanks, the best airplanes, the best missiles and the best rifles that’s out there on the market today, and we want them to have the best training.

“But the other part of having the best military is also making sure you’re taking care of the quality of life and particularly the families, because you can’t deploy off to Afghanistan if you’re going to be worrying about your family.”

Col. Ronald J. Place, M.D., commander of Winn Army Community Hospital, also was on hand for the open house. He said since the clinic opened, many families have received health-care services, but noted there still is room for new patients.

“(The clinic) is designed to hold about 8,100 eligible beneficiaries, and we’re just a little bit below that — I think we’re at about … 6,700 now,” Place said. “So the good news is we’ve got all kinds of families that are enrolled here, and the even-better news is there is a little bit more room for some more families, kids, spouses and occasionally some retirees as well can get some health care here.”

Richmond Hill Medical Home is among a dozen community-based clinics the Army has established to make health-care services more convenient for military families, Place said.

“As the Army has evolved, and in particular as Army medicine has evolved, what we’ve figured out is that we did a lot of decision making based on what was convenient for us as the health-care providers, and what was convenient for us in the military system,” he said. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve figured out that sometimes outcomes are more dependent on what’s convenient for people, and how do we design health-care systems that take that patient into account?

“So in that light, the Army medical department made some decisions about, maybe we ought to put some clinics out where people actually live rather than making them drive long periods of time or long distances to get to our hospital system.”

Kingston echoed Place’s comments about having a convenient health-care location for military families.

“I think, as the colonel said, it is so important to the military family well-being having the convenience and not having to go through the security gate. Coming to a place like this is great,” Kingston said.

Richmond Hill Medical Home is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Ways Station Shopping Center off Highway 17. For more information, call 435-7464.

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