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San Antonio Military Health System Celebrates First-Ever Change Of Authority

U.S. Army photo by Erin Perez/Released

Joint Base Fort Sam Houston saw an historic change of authority ceremony for its combined health care facilities this week.

The San Antonio Military Health System, formed two years ago under Joint Base realignment, celebrated the installation of its new director Thursday.

The San Antonio Military Health System includes San Antonio Military Medical Center and Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center. It was formed Sept. 15, 2011, as a way for the military in San Antonio to increase efficiencies.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Byron C. Hepburn, commander of the 59th Medical Wing, relinquished the position as director to Army Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan.

Keenan will have direct authority to oversee and sustain a high-quality military health system across San Antonio, not just within Army or Air Force facilities.

During his two-year tenure as director, Hepburn drove efficiencies and provided improved health care services, supported graduate medical education and training, and biomedical research.

Hepburn said the five-year plan is to achieve $237 million in savings. Hepburn was the San Anotnio Military Health System’s first director. The position alternates between the Air Force and Army every two years.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.