Story by Regena Kowitz on 02/20/2019Two officers from Navy Medicine West (NMW) were named the senior and junior Navy Medicine 2018 Patient Administration Officers of the Year, Feb. 19.
Lt. Cmdr. Jessica Woody, recognized for her achievements while serving as the patient administration department head at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), was selected as the senior officer of the year, while Lt. Kamalan Selvarajah was chosen as the junior officer of the year for his work as the department head for patient administration at U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka, Japan.
"I am honored to serve with these innovative officers in the Medical Service Corps community," said Rear Adm. Anne Swap, director, Medical Service Corps. "They serve a fundamental role supporting warfighter readiness and go above and beyond to not only provide, but also enhance, the joint military health care environment for our Sailors, Marines, and their families."
Woody, who has since transferred to the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Ill., was selected as the Navy Medicine 2018 Senior Patient Administration Officer of the Year for initiatives she led at NMCSD with innovation and compassion.
"The Patient Administration Department is extremely complex and touches every aspect of the medical center, supporting operational and Navy Medicine commands located on the West Coast and throughout 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of operation." Said Capt. Alan Christian, director for administration at NMCSD. "We were very fortunate to have an officer like Lt. Cmdr. Woody whose leadership, exceptional professional knowledge, and dedication to supporting our warfighters and beneficiaries resulted in significant improvements in every aspect of her department and directly contributed to the success of operational units throughout supported areas of responsibility."
At NMCSD, Woody was instrumental in making significant improvements to the Temporary Limited Duty Operations Report (TEMPO) tracker. Bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of providers, administrators, and a web developer, Woody spearheaded a new approach to tracking patients within the limited duty program process that's transparent and compliant with patient privacy laws.
Woody also helped improve NMCSD's Burial at Sea Program by improving the application process and communication between the medical center and the fleet. Her efforts and compassionate approach sped up the approval process and cut costs to the families participating in the program.
"I am humbled and extremely honored to be selected as the senior patient administration officer of the year," said Woody. "Every patient administration officer within Navy Medicine deals with complicated, unique and challenging issues on a daily basis. That dynamic, unpredictable workload is what many of us love most about our mission. Thank you to all of the exemplary patient administration division officers, chiefs, Sailors, and civilians whose performance and dedication made this possible. I would especially like to thank the NMCSD Director for Administration, Capt. Christian, and leadership team, for giving me the push needed to effect change within Navy Medicine."
Selvarajah was recognized as the Navy Medicine 2018 Junior Patient Administration Officer of the Year due to his efforts that directly impacted readiness and delivery of services by developing partnerships and implementing novel solutions to existing challenges.
"Lt. Selvarajah is an exceptional health care administrator and an impressive leader," said Capt. Felix Bigby, USNH Yokosuka commanding officer. "His commitment to improving how we do business, increasing fleet and warfighter readiness, and enhancing services for our military and their families with his administrative expertise has contributed significantly to the organizational mission."
As the head of a patient administration department at an overseas command, Selvarajah enhanced program effectiveness by coordinating with the regional casualty assistance calls officers, the U.S. Air Force mortuary, and host nation funeral homes and crematoriums to serve military and civilian family through the emotionally difficult process of the disposition and repatriation of human remains.
"Working in patient administration remains one of the toughest and most rewarding positions I have held as a health care administrator," said Selvarajah. "The opportunity to positively affect the lives of service members and their families, daily, is why I put in the hours that I do. It's a sacrifice to my own family, without whose understanding and encouragement I would not be able to succeed. The patient administration family here at USNH Yokosuka, the patient administration family worldwide, and my Medical Service Corps leadership motivate me daily. I'm humbled by this award because I am surrounded by greatness."
During the past year, Selvarajah also collaborated with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Hospital, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), and Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, to conduct joint drills, successfully evacuating more than 140 simulated patients from the hospital ship to both the JMSDF Hospital and USNH Yokosuka.
"Both Lt. Cmdr. Woody and Lt. Selvarajah have performed phenomenally throughout the past year, exhibiting administrative expertise, organizational acumen, and strong leadership skills," said Rear Adm. Paul Pearigen, commander, NMW. "They should be very proud of their accomplishments and contributions to Navy Medicine's mission."
Navy Medicine West leads (NMW) Navy Medicine's Western Pacific health care system and global research and development enterprise. Throughout the region, NMW provides medical care to nearly 700,000 beneficiaries across 10 naval hospitals, two dental battalions, and 51 branch clinics located throughout the West Coast of the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific. Globally, NMW also has oversight of eight research laboratories across the U.S. and overseas that deliver high-value, high-impact research products to support and protect the health and readiness of service members.