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News | Dec. 11, 2023

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth marks designation of the first U.S. Navy-led Level II Trauma Center

By Christina Johnson

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Dec. 8, 2023) Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the designation of the medical center as a Level II Trauma Center, Dec. 8.

NMCP’s leadership was notified by the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services in August 2023 that the medical center received the provisional designation as a Level II Trauma Center that means it can receive severely injured civilian patients from the local area.

“This is a significant event in the lengthy history of the nation’s oldest naval hospital, and this is why we are assembled here this morning,” said Capt. Billy Ward, the event’s master of ceremonies and NMCP’s surgical services director, following his welcome and recognition of the distinguished visitors to include Rear Adm. Darin Via, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) Surgeon General; Rear Adm. Matthew Case, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic commander/Defense Health Network Atlantic director/Chief of the Medical Services Corps; Dr. Michael Malanoski, Defense Health Agency (DHA) deputy director; and Lisa Lucas-Burke, City of Portsmouth vice mayor.


“Since achieving our provisional Level II Trauma Center designation in August, we’ve continued to strengthen our relationship with the local community and the Commonwealth,” stated Capt. Brian Feldman, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth director/Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Portsmouth commander, as he spoke and echoed the MC’s welcome. “We are committed to being a resource to care for critically injured patients, regardless of any affiliation with the military.”

Feldman pointed out that the medical center’s staff are experienced in caring for trauma patients, and that they’ve been providing this type of care to active duty and dependents for some time.

“This military-civilian partnership is a critical win-win for two reasons,” Feldman explained. “First we take care of the people in our local community and have the opportunity to reduce preventable deaths, and it will also provide our military professionals with sustainable critical care experience supporting readiness and training to ensure that their skills are maintained to save lives in future military operations.”

Via was the next speaker and noted that the designation was especially meaningful to him since he credits Portsmouth as the place where he learned to be a true leader in Navy Medicine. He was once the medical center’s commanding officer, deputy commander, director of surgical services, anesthesia chair, and he’s always had a vested interest in Portsmouth.

“For many years we’ve celebrated Portsmouth as the ‘First and Finest’ medical center in our nation’s history, and those words ring true as we mark its designation as the first U.S. Navy led Level II Trauma Center in the nation – only the second one in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Via. “I’m proud to say that this is a Defense Health Agency hospital that is a Level II Trauma Center.”

He explained how important it is now that emergency responders have another option when transporting acutely injured Hampton Road’s patients to area medical facilities.

Even though the medical center’s designation is provisional, the Virginia Trauma Center Designation Manual states that upon completion of one year under this designation, the medical facility will receive a modified site review. If no critical deficiencies are noted, the review team recommends an unconditional designation as a trauma center by the Virginia State Health Commissioner.

“It is not an exaggeration that together we are all contributing to our national defense with this achievement,” added Feldman on the designation.

“Today’s ribbon cutting symbolizes the resolute commitment of Navy Medicine and the entire medical center staff and the teams of health care professionals to sustaining the resources, people, and state-of-the-art health care required to ensure the optimal care for injured patients.”

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, a nationally acclaimed, state-of-the-art military treatment facility, and its Branch Health and Community Branch Health Clinics provide medical care for veterans, warfighters, and their families. Additionally, the medical center is a premier readiness and training platform that provides superior medical training for military medical service members at the U.S. military’s oldest, continuously operating military hospital. It supports pioneering research and teaching programs to prepare new doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, and hospital corpsmen for combat operations and public health crises.
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