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;Survey Says: Naval Hospital Beaufort Number One

By Sgt. Will Price | | January 26, 2001

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Naval Hospital Beaufort was recently rated number one in overall customer satisfaction amongst all Naval hospitals serving Marine Corps bases.After an intensive two-year survey of all the services' Medical Treatment Facilities, NHB proved medically they are among the best, and when it comes to customer satisfaction, they are at the top of their profession."It is vital to have a good relationship with all our beneficiaries," said Navy Capt. Ronald Sollock, NHB Executive Officer. "Sometimes people take good medicine for granted, but this type of recognition validates all our hard effort."Holding true to the Marine adage of : "Doing more, with less," NHB did more than hold its own against the larger Naval hospitals located at Marine Corps bases Camp Pendleton, and Camp Lejeune, as well as Naval hospitals at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and MCB 29 Palms. "Even though our staff and yearly budget aren't nearly the size of Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton, we don't let that play as a factor," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Gail Epstein, NHB Public Affairs Officer.According to Navy Capt. Gary Zuckerman, NHB Commanding Officer, the intense focus placed on customer satisfaction is finally paying off."Our number one priority is the customer," said Zuckerman. "Not a day goes by that we do not conduct training to improve staff and customer interaction."Understanding how swiftly public opinion can change, NHB plans to not to let their guard down. "At the present, we stand as the best Naval hospital in the Marine Corps," said Sollock. "For 2001, our goal is to be the best throughout the Navy."To attain that lofty goal NHB has introduced several improvements.The after-hours clinic is now open Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. After an internal survey, patient preference indicated the clinic was more needed on weekday evenings than on Saturdays. To schedule an appointment with Acute or Urgent Care call the after-hours clinic's Central Appointment Line at 228-5198 or 228-5175. To increase patient room space, the Pediatrics and Internal Medicine Provider departments have been moved from the Family Practice and the Primary Care centers to the newly renovated A-2 wing. This move will free up twice the space for doctors to examine and care for patients.To reduce waiting time and increase patient comfort, the pharmacy has introduced an automated numbering system. Patients can now draw a number and sit in the waiting room across from the pharmacy, instead of standing in line. When their number is called they simply pick up their medication at the window. Priority is given to emergency patients, discharged patients and service members in uniform, otherwise customers are taken in the order they arrive."Before the new number system was around, getting prescriptions was a mess," said Debra Bennett, Air Station Budget Technician. "Now if I wait more than 10 minutes it's a surprise."The pharmacy refill site is in full operation as well. Patients can call the number on their prescription label one day prior to request a refill. The following day they call again to ensure there medicine is ready and then head to the drive-thru window to pick up their prescriptions. The drive-thru is located on the eastern wall of the hospital across from the gas station.While no Naval Hospitals on Marine bases did poorly, Surgeon General of the Navy Vice Adm. R.A. Nelson keeps his eyes focused on the future."It is not enough to declare victory when data indicates your command is performing satisfactorily," said Nelson in an e-mail to all Naval Hospital commanders. "We must never cease to raise the bar."According to Zuckerman, NHB intends to do just that.
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