Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda was officially dedicated Nov. 10, 2011, during a ceremony officiated by The Honorable Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. This was the result of integrating two of the most distinguished military medical centers in history, the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC). The integration resulted in the creation of the world’s largest military hospital with more than 2.4 million square feet of clinical space, providing care to nearly million beneficiaries per year.

The former WRAMC first opened its doors on May 1, 1909, in Washington, D.C. It was named after the famed Army physician and researcher, Maj. Walter Reed, who led the team that confirmed the theory yellow fever is transmitted by a particular mosquito species. The site for the former NNMC, and the original main hospital, was selected and designed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. It was officially dedicated by him on Aug. 31, 1942. In their illustrious histories, both WRAMC and NNMC staff treated U.S. presidents, members of Congress, cabinet officials, and world leaders, in addition to top military leaders.

Today, WRNMMC serves as a model for patient-and-family centered care that allows patients to take charge of their health and be an integral part of their healthcare delivery team. The medical center also serves as an integral link in the healing process for our nation’s wounded warriors. Our motto is, “Where Our Nation Heals Its Heroes.” For those of us privileged to serve in military medicine, our patients are, indeed, heroes.

Walter Reed Bethesda has implemented the Medical Home (MH) model, a new approach to health care delivery. It is based on the concept that the patient is always at the center of every decision made regarding their care. MH patients receive closer, more personalized care coordinated with an entire team and have improved access to their primary care provider. Patients also have new medical and community resources at their disposal. It is our priority that a patient’s PCM (primary care manager) remains the same as long as he/she continues to work at WRNMMC. This provides improved continuity of care, and allows the patient and the PCM to develop a closer relationship and partnership.

The basic concepts and tenets of Medical Home include Stable Primary Care Manager, Team Based Healthcare, Improved Access, Proactive Healthcare, Coordination with Medical and Surgical Specialists and Improved Communication and Information Systems.

The Team Approach

MH patients will have an entire team responsible for their healthcare which includes the PCM, a Registered Nurse (RN), a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and/or a Hospital Corpsman. This team works together to fulfill administrative requests, book appointments directly and provide additional medical services. For urgent issues, a MH patient is able to call and schedule an appointment for that same day. For routine appointments and ongoing (chronic) health issues, patients can speak to a team member and schedule a timely appointment with the PCM directly. A team member will also contact patients directly to ensure that healthcare needs are met.

Specialist care and referrals are made easier because a MH team member will see WRNMMC specialist appointments are made, and will help schedule these services so that the process is made easier for the patient. If referred to the network, a team member will assist with the referral and ensure that the results and follow-up are reported directly to the PCM.

Patient and Family - Centered Care (PFCC)

PFCC is: “an approach to health care based on beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients and families.” (Adapted from the Institute for Family Centered Care) At WRNMMC, you are an equal partner in your health care. You decide if a family member or friend accompanies you to your clinic visit or hospital stay. Your cultural background, values and beliefs are respected.

Customer Service Training

Customer Service training provides initial command orientation training, birth month, Leadership Academy, and ad hoc customer service training to functional areas or individuals. It also designs training to address specific issues and topics, such as building relationships and people skills, conflict management, managing your staff customer service for middle management/supervisors, team building, communication, listening, and embracing diversity. Avenues for providing customer service training include customer advocacy seminars, monthly messages, and department/service level refresher sessions.


Collateral duty department and service level customer service advocates are assigned these duties by their respective department or service chief. The Patient Relations Department (Customer Service Program Manager) tracks who is performing these duties for the department/service and their collateral duty training. The Patient Relations Department (Customer Service Program Manager) trains the collateral duty customer advocates to ensure they can react to patient needs from an advocacy role and focus on great customer service. The Customer Service Program Manager provides mentoring to the customer service advocates to ensure conformity with training.

Patient Advocacy

The Patient Relations Department’s patient advocates assist, represent, and educate patients, family members, and visitors regarding medical center services, policies, and other issues regarding delivery of health care and medical center staff interactions. The Patient Advocates are also problem-solvers who tackle the issues that prevent patients’ access to care, services, or cause the patient frustration.

Patient Relations/Customer Service

The Patient Relations Depart-ment administers the following programs: customer service training, staff recognition for customer service excellence, staff recognition for patient and family centered care excellence, customer service advocacy training, patient advocacy, review and analysis of patient/customer feedback, and DoD Patient Satisfaction reporting.


WRNMMC’s Office of Emergency Management (EM) ensures continuous readiness through all-hazards staff training, exercise design and execution, contingency planning and policy development. EM program areas consist of Plans, Training and Exercises; Hospital Decontamination Operations; National Disaster Medical System/Federal Coordinating Center Operations; Contingency Resources; and Hospital Command Center Operations.

Executive Health Care for Our Nation’s Leaders

WRNMMC’s Executive Med-icine Service brings world-class medical care to our nation’s leaders, ensuring availability, flexibility, security, and confidentiality at all times. These leaders include the U.S. President, the U.S. Vice President, members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and Flag and General Officers. The Executive Medicine Service also provides care for other authorized government officials, beneficiaries, foreign military and embassy personnel designated by the military secretaries and the Secretary of Defense.


The Healthcare Resolutions Program is designed to resolve complex health care disputes, issues or concerns following unanticipated/adverse outcomes of care or quality of care issues. The program ensures a fair resolution process for all involved parties. The emphasis of the program is “doing the right thing” when there are unanticipated adverse outcomes of care. The Healthcare Resolutions Program promotes an environment of transparency in which unexpected results of care, treatment and services are openly and honestly disclosed, where system vulnerabilities are recognized and a commitment is made to process improvements. The Healthcare Resolutions Specialist is involved with patients and providers starting at the time of service delivery with typical interventions surrounding documented or perceived medical errors, unanticipated outcomes, sentinel events, expected or unexpected deaths, dissatisfied with treatment outcomes or quality of care received, etc. Early intervention is critical in the achievement of meaningful resolutions. This service is available to all beneficiaries and promotes high reliability within the organization.


Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Legal Assistance Office is located in Building 1 (Tower), 7th Floor, room 7150. Attorneys are seen by appointment only. Ward visits are completed upon request. Notary Services and powers of attorney are on a walk-in basis from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Legal services provided include: wills, separation/divorce, landlord/tenant, immigration, and consumer law.

Murtha Cancer Center (The John P. Murtha Cancer Center)

The John P. Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is located in the America Building, with outlying laboratories in Rockville, Md., Windber, Pa., and Fairfax, Va. The Murtha Cancer Center is the multi-disciplinary hub made up of the core elements affecting cancer care and delivery, as well as prevention and screening at WRNMMC. The main elements of the Murtha Cancer Center include Medical Oncology, Center for Prostate Disease Research, Gynecological (GYN) Cancer Center of Excellence, Breast Care and Imaging Center, Surgical Oncology, Pediatrics Hematology and Oncology, Radiation, Cancer Genetics, Orthopaedic Oncology, Urologic Oncology, and Dermatologic Oncology. In addition, the Murtha Cancer Center has close affiliations and alliances with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), as well as the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The Murtha Cancer Center, named for former Pennsylvania Congressman John P. Murtha, a longtime supporter of America’s armed forces and advocate for cancer screening, prevention and treatment in the military health system, is the only approved Center of Excellence in Cancer Care in the Department of Defense.