Expeditionary Medical Facility is always ready for deployment
US Marine Corps News
9/2/2011 By Pfc. Brianna Turner, Marine Corps Bases Japan
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — Bill Hartmann, the program manager for the expeditionary medical facility program, and Efrain Rosario, the medical planner for the program, hosted a tour of the EMF on Camp Foster Aug. 26.
The EMF program, formerly known as the fleet hospital program, was established in 1978 as standardized, modular units created to provide shore-based medical support to the Navy and Fleet Marine Forces engaged in combat operations.
“These facilities are prewar assets,” said Hartmann. “It is important that we have them now, so they are ready when we need them.”
The units contain everything doctors would need to care for wounded service members in theater.
“EMFs are essentially hospitals in a box; they have everything,” said Rosario. “There are up to 150 beds for patients, kitchens, bath and shower units, nursing stations, labs and x-ray stations. Also, medicine is precontracted and delivered when needed.”
The units also come with a construction battalion unit, which helps with preparation, security, setup and assistance during the installation of the EMFs and repairs utilities.
The program also provides personnel including construction mechanics, hospital corpsman, logistics specialists, personnel specialists, nurses, doctors, information technicians and dental technicians. These personnel are preassigned to the program.
“We have what we call echelons of care,” said Navy Capt. Lynn Wheeler, the deputy surgeon at U.S. Pacific Fleet. “When someone is injured, there are corpsman; there is forward-deployed care, and then, they are taken to a theater hospital. That is why we have these EMFs; they serve as a theater hospital.”
According to Hartmann, the facilities are meant for situations with mass casualties and will only be used when directed by the chief of naval operations.
Along with EMFs, there is a newly designed capability called the “stand alone,” which consists of one operating room, eight intensive-care unit beds and two operating-room beds for preparation and holding. Additionally there are air-transportable units capable of deploying anywhere in the world, according to Hartmann.
There are currently EMFs located in the U.S., overseas and aboard the Maritime prepositioning force, ships especially configured to transport supplies for the Marine Corps.
“Our job in naval medicine is to support the fleet and the Fleet Marine Forces. These facilities help make sure we can do that job,” said Wheeler.
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