After more than 100 years of active operations, Walter Reed Army Medical Center lowered its flag for the last time as activities transition to the newly constructed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in neighboring Bethesda, MD.
Truth be told, I wanted to go to Hawaii, California or Colorado where there were active Army hospitals with pathology residency programs. By the time I finished medical school and internship, those programs were closed.
Walter Reed was one of the Army pathology programs that remained and we stayed at Walter Reed for 9 years were I completed my internship, residency and had my first job in practice.
Some of the best years of my life, personally and professionally, although I don't think I appreciated it at the time. The day I started "clearing post" was the day the BRAC list come out with Walter Reed's name on it. 6 years later, much like AFIP as well which was an installation on the Walter Reed campus, has closed down its operations.
What military medicine offers trainees and physicians is a camaraderie and sense of group effort that is hard to match in civilian medicine. Within the military healthcare system you were able to practice medicine. No asking permission from insurance companies for approvals, no reimbursement issues that directly impacted you or issues with hospital contracts, payers, payees, etc… Nevermind you were fortunate enough to take care of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines — people charged with defending our country at times with personal sacrifice and taking care of their families who counted on these individuals to be safe from harm.
Hard to imagine people actually told me ten years ago the government would never close Walter Reed or AFIP.
Category: Pathology News