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‘The secret is out.’ Keesler named the best hospital in the Air Force.

Medical personnel at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi meet with a patient in October 2017.
Medical personnel at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi meet with a patient in October 2017. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com file

Keesler Medical Center, one of the major training hospitals in the Air Force, has been named the best hospital in the Air Force.

The Air Force Surgeon General has awarded the medical center with the Hospital of the Year award, according to a news release.

KMC is operated by the 81st Medical Group.

The general medical center and surgical facility has more than 25,000 patients, including 8,500 active duty members, the news release said.

On a daily basis, medical staff see 615 patients, perform 113 outpatient procedures and tend to 100 people in emergency room visits.

KMC staff also responded to numerous crises in 2017.

Col. Jeannie Ryder, 81st Medical Group commander, said she and Chief Julie Buttroff are proud of the award.

“I’m so thankful for my medics’ expertise, leadership, followership, professionalism and compassionate care,” Ryder said.

Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich issued a statement congratulating Base Commander Col. Debra Lovette and medical center staff.

“The fact that Keesler Medical Center is the best in the entire Air Force has been our little secret for a long time,” Gilich said. “But the secret is out now.”

“The Keesler Medical Center is one of the many reasons why Biloxi is home to the best Air Force Base in the United States.”

KMC is one of the Air Force’s major medical training hospitals.

Hospitals considered for the award were judged in four categories, the release said: full spectrum readiness, integrated operational support, Air Force medical home and trusted care.

The 81st Medical Group was proficient in all four categories, the release said.

Last year, medical staff triaged 44 passengers after a train struck a bus near the base and took them to hospitals within an hour.

The medical group sent critical-care air teams after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.

Also, its Public Health Clinic monitored nearly 3,000 students temporarily deployed to Keesler after they found that the norovirus was infecting students in dormitories.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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