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Showing Our Colors
Hopkins celebrates its 20-year partnership with the Military Health System.

As you might imagine about anything whose origins date back to the time of John Adams and whose fate is entwined with the federal government, the story of the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan is a labyrinthine tale. It begins in 1798, when Adams signs legislation to provide care for "sick and disabled seamen," and evolves, over time, into the U.S. Public Health Service.

For our purposes, however, 1981 is the key date. That year, Congress enacted legislation to save seven Public Health Service hospitals from closure by authorizing their transfer to private hands. The Wyman Park facility was one of them, and in the late 1980s it was acquired by Johns Hopkins, along with the Wyman Park Health System.

It may be one of Hopkins' best kept secrets that Johns Hopkins Community Physicians provides primary health care to approximately 21,300 members of the military and their families, delivered at the 18 clinics throughout Maryland. To get the word out and celebrate the successful partnership, JHCP hosted a patriotic ceremony on May 17, postponed from last Sept. 14, to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1981 legislation.

The weather was perfect, and U.S. Rep. Benjamin Cardin attended the festivities, as did VIPs from the military, the federal government and about 200 enrollees in the US Family Health Plan, mostly retired.

"This really is an American success story in medicine, and over the past 20 years there have been very few," said Maj. Gen. Harold Timboe, commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Mary Cooke, senior director of the US Family Health Plan since 1999, says that mixing the best of Hopkins medical care with the demanding standards of the Department of Defense has turned into a win-win situation for everyone.




As one of the seven US Family Health Plans, Hopkins offers the only managed care plan for over-65 military retirees. "Our model offers a unique advantage for them," says Cooke. "Through disease management and care management, we focus on the preventive aspects of health care. We try to keep our members healthier, and they're happier.

"As a group, they have an incredible amount of integrity," she continues, "and we have to earn their respect. They are our American patriots. More than ever now, it is a privilege to serve them."




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