Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Patuxent River changes command

Commander, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Rear Adm. Darin Via, center, presides over the Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Pautuxent River change of command ceremony Sept. 25. Capt. Kathleen Hinz, left, turned over command to Capt. David Thomas, saluting on right.

Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Patuxent River changes command

Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Patuxent River and Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River (NHCPR) welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony Friday, Sept. 25, when Capt. Kathleen Hinz turned over leadership to Capt. David Thomas. Rear Adm. Darin Via, Commander Naval Medical Forces Atlantic, presided over the ceremony.

NMRTC Patuxent River delivers the highest quality healthcare to its beneficiaries at Patuxent River and its outlying clinics on Naval Support Activity (NSA) Indian Head, NSA Dahlgren, and Navy Detachment Andrews Air Force Base. These clinics serve nearly 14,000 active duty, family members and retired service members, across 161 commands, with close to 400 dedicated military, civilian, and contract staff.

“During my 24 months at Naval health Clinic Patuxent River, our team has provided nearly 500,000 medical and dental visits, filled over 200,000 prescriptions, completed 180,000 labs, and countless other tasks to ensure our patients [are] provided for. We have also succeeded in non-clinical areas,” Capt. Hinz said. “We have promoted countless Sailors, transitioned to the Defense Health Agency, and refocused on readiness to support the warfighter.”

During Hinz’s tenure, Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River worked alongside NMRTC Patuxent River to provide for beneficiaries, while also focusing on medical readiness of the fleet. Hinz successfully commanded through the Defense Health Agency transition, which took place on Oct. 1, 2019, and through the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under her command, NHCPR established a Sick Call Screener Course, which was implemented to provide critical skills and knowledge for junior personnel who are on the front line of military health and medical readiness. Her leadership was instrumental in creating screening teams for COVID-19 triage and the success of multiple operational screening events to support the fleet.

Adm. Via stated during the ceremony, “It is a true honor to be here today as we recognize another milestone in the careers of two outstanding leaders. For Capt.Hinz, that will be not only for recognizing this momentous occasion of a successful tour as the commanding officer of Naval Medical Readiness and Training Command Patuxent River, but also then following 37 years of honorable service and everything that you have done in service to your nation and the Navy. It also gives me great pleasure in welcoming Capt. Thomas as he takes command here today.”

Following the change of command ceremony, Hinz retired with 37 years of service under her belt.

“I leave NMRTC Patuxent River proud of the hard work and drive the staff displayed each day and their commitment to uphold Navy Medicine‘s goals,” Hinz said. “This team supported operational readiness, provided high quality patient-centered care, and most importantly developed and cared for each other. It has been my honor to serve and lead you, Team Patuxent River. Thank you for making my final tour in the Navy a great experience. I leave this command knowing you will continue to do amazing things.”

Capt. Thomas takes over NMRTC Patuxent River, previously serving as Executive Officer at Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi, Texas. He was commissioned as a Nurse Corps Officer in June 1994. During his naval career, Thomas has served in a wide variety of clinical, administrative, leadership and operational positions. Most notably, he served as the Navy Medicine Ambulatory Nursing Specialty Leader. He is a recognized subject matter expert in the field of ambulatory care nursing, as a key contributor for three esteemed international publications, and as a valued presenter at the American Association of Ambulatory Care Nurses’ annual conference.

Having already earned his Master’s in Public Administration/Health Care Administration, Thomas continues to strive for excellence as he pursues his Executive MBA from Naval Post-graduate School.

“In this era of strategic competition among formidable super powers, it is incumbent upon us in military medicine to facilitate those active-duty dispositions, producing readiness is our job,” Thomas stated. “Not just for us personally but for the installations and tenant commands that we support.”