***image1***“I’ve killed so many brain cells learning this stuff,” joked Army Maj. Jessie L. Tucker III. However, if studying makes the brain stronger, he has nothing to worry about. He picks up university degrees like most people pick up their dry cleaning.
Major Tucker, a health care administrator and commander of the U.S. Army Health Clinic in Kaiserslautern, has two more things to add to his list of accomplishments – the 2003 Award of the Army Surgeon General’s “A” Proficiency Designator; and becoming the newly-appointed Regent for the Army (East) of the American College of Healthcare Executives to represent the interest of Army affiliates in the eastern region.
“It was a surprise to me,” he said. “I got news of both honors on the same day. I wanted to play the lottery, believe me.”
The “A” Proficiency Designator, a rarity for a major to receive, recognizes medical services officers who are considered eminently qualified in their specialty. Of the eight awardees this year, he was the only major to receive the honor.
Before a designator packet can be submitted, one must be board certified in health care administration for at least 10 years and publish articles in research journals. The reason that most majors in health care administration don’t receive this designator is because rarely do they have articles published, he said.
“It’s an honor to be recognized amongst my peers for a commitment to health care administration,” he said.
What his new position means, besides less time for golf, is that he must represent the interests of Army affiliates in Europe, the Middle East, Puerto Rico and the eastern United States.
“I provide a voice for their concerns, recommendations and suggestions about the way the college is managed and military health care administration in general,” he said. “If the affiliates within the east bring an issue to me, I will represent that interest to the American College of Healthcare Executives.”
An example of this would be to provide civilian administrators with creative ways of dealing with the health care administration aspects of weapons of mass destruction. Civilian health care administrators can provide differing perspectives on how to manage common concerns like the nursing shortage and increasing costs, he said.
Duties also include making sure continuing education seminars are made available to Army affiliates, such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
“In the Army, we have non-profit hospitals, so we are focused on cost accounting as opposed to both cost and financial accounting,” he said. “It’s important to bring it to the college’s attention that we need more information and presentations on how to manage military, non-profit facilities more efficiently and productively. It’s up to us to let them know what we need.”