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Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

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Lovell FHCC Monthly Newsletter - May 2021

A Message from Leadership ...

The below leadership column ran in the Chicago Tribune editorial section May 26.

Lovell Federal Health Care Center Continues its Mission for Veterans, Servicemembers and Military Families

Since our nation began its fight against COVID-19, the burdens and responsibilities of the pandemic have strained each of us in different ways. Now, more than 37,000 veterans, active duty military personnel and their family members throughout Lake County and surrounding areas have received the COVID-19 vaccine at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, the nation’s first fully integrated federal health care center supporting medical missions of both the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense.

Based on recent surveys conducted by VA, more than 92 percent of our patients, overall, indicated trust in the care they’ve received at Lovell. Our health care team earned that trust by working on the frontlines to provide care to those most in need. We implemented safety measures long ago to protect patients and our staff from getting sick. As part of prioritizing safety, for each patient appointment we weighed the options and risks. When clinical urgency rose above the risk of COVID-19, we provided in-person care. When it did not and the risk of COVID-19 infection increased, we offered alternatives. In many cases, patients told us they preferred postponing routine care because they did not want to risk exposure to the virus.

When appropriate, we offered virtual appointments, by video and telephone. This has provided unexpected benefits. Along with offering patients care in the comfort of their own homes, virtual options allow family and caregivers to easily join visits and engage with Lovell FHCC providers. We will continue to offer virtual visits even as we return to more in-person care.

We are now welcoming VA and Dept. of Defense patients back in record numbers. As our community spread of COVID-19 has decreased, many have resumed their routine on-site care, while others have begun scheduling appointments for the weeks ahead, either at Lovell or in the community, when eligible. These appointments, from cancer screenings to eye exams, are essential to staying healthy and saving lives. 

In working to coordinate care, we have found that many community providers outside of VA and TRICARE (the health care program for servicemembers, their family members and military retirees) are also rescheduling previously cancelled appointments or are managing abbreviated schedules, creating longer wait times than usual. Nationally, VA has provided more than 2.3 million veterans care in the community since the MISSION Act was implemented almost two years ago, and we are proud that so many veterans continue to choose VA, allowing us to coordinate timely, quality and patient-focused care. 

We want our patients to know that Lovell FHCC is dedicated to caring for them, not just in this time of national emergency, but into the future. While we are part of the national health care system, first and foremost, we are members of this vibrant community. Our staff is here day and night for those who have served our nation, as well as those who continue to serve, and their family members.

Recent legislation allows VA health care centers to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all who have ever served in the U.S. military, along with their spouses or caregivers. We are thrilled to meet some members of the veterans’ community for the first time and welcome back those who we haven’t seen in a while. If you know a veteran who isn’t enrolled in VA health care and is interested in learning more about their eligibility, please encourage them to visit

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Veterans Health Administration. Amidst the pandemic, we also marked the 10th anniversary of Lovell FHCC, established Oct. 1, 2010 when the former North Chicago VA Medical Center (VAMC) and the former Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes (NHCGL) merged their resources and services. 

We couldn’t be prouder to serve our community’s veterans, as well as future veterans and their families.  Our doors never closed, but we are pleased to have them wide open as we progress towards the pandemic’s end, under our integrated motto, ““Readying Warriors, Caring for Heroes.”

Robert Buckley, MD, MPH, FACEP

Director, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center


Thomas Nelson, CAPT, MD, MC, USN

Commanding Officer and Deputy Director, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

Let's Get Social

FHCC has a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please see the links below to visit our social media sites. Below are the posts that received the highest engagement for the month.

Top Posts from May

Nursing Daisy Awards


On May 10, 2021, Lovell FHCC recognized its DAISY and BEE award winners with a virtual  ceremony. 

The DAISY Award (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) was started in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes to honor the nurses that provided him with exemplary care.

View the images and write ups of the award winners on our FHCC Facebook

Coin Presentations


Rear Admiral Darin K. Via, Commander, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic, and Command Senior Chief James R. Osborne, visited Lovell FHCC Tuesday, May 4. Admiral Via recognized 40 Lovell FHCC staff members- active duty and civilian - for unique and notable personal achievements, many related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can view all the pictures from this big day, by clicking on the linked albums: Album 1 & Album 2

Happy Nurses Month

nurses month  

Happy Nurses Month to all of our active duty and civilian nurses at Lovell FHCC. To help celebrate Nurses Week and Month, both in May, we asked some of our nurses why they chose to be a nurse. Visit our FHCC Facebook page to see the images and read why our Lovell nurses chose the profession. 

Nursing Album 1 & Nursing Album 2

AAPI Heritage Month


During the month of May we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a period recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. In spirit of the month, the Lovell FHCC Diversity Committee highlighted the experiences of Lovell FHCC employees and their backgrounds as well as some traditional recipes from a range of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures. All can be viewed by clicking on the links below.

Dr. RavipatiHN Kian. Dr. Hwang. Macrina Alayu-Nichols Traditional recipes.

Happy Birthday Navy Nurse Corps

BDay collage

Pictured above, center: Lovel FHCC and NMRTC Great Lakes Nurse Corps Officers and leaders gathered for a small in-person ceremonial cake cutting, with hospital director Dr. Robert Buckley. Pictured above, around the outside of the image: Lovell Navy leaders that submitted video messages in honor of the 113th Navy Nurse Corps birthday. Starting in the left corner, going clockwise, Clinical Director of Medicine Commander David You, Command Master Chief Veronica Brittenum, Associate Director of Dental Commander Evan Whitbeck, and MILPERs Department Head Lieutenant Shannette Davis.

Nurse Corps Officers and staff of Naval Medical Readiness Training Command (NMRTC) Great Lakes and Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center celebrated the 113th birthday of the United States Navy Nurse Corps on May 13th, which was established by Congress in 1908. The first twenty Navy nurses were appointed in 1908 and were called the “Sacred Twenty”.

One of the “Sacred Twenty” was a nurse named Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee. This year, on April 24th, the Navy christened its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, which was named after Higbee. This is the second ship with her namesake. The first ship, commissioned in 1945, was the first Navy warship named after a female. Just one year after Higbee joined, in 1909, she became the Chief Nurse at Norfolk Naval Hospital, and in 1911, became the second Superintendent of the Corps. She remained Superintendent for eleven years. During this time, she grew the Nurse Corps from 160 to over 1,300 nurses. She led the Navy Nurse Corps during the course of both the first World War as well as the Spanish Flu epidemic. For her accomplishments, she was awarded the Navy Cross in 1920, becoming the first female recipient of this award.

During World War I, the Navy Nurse Corps was expanded, and four Navy Crosses were awarded to nurses during the war, three of whom became victims in the fight against the 1919 influenza pandemic. From 2020 to 2021, just over 100 years later, our Nurse Corps Officers have been on the frontlines in the fight against a new pandemic, COVID-19. Since day one, nurses from NMRTC Great Lakes and around the globe have answered the call to help protect our fellow citizens and have deployed in many locations in response to COVID-19 global needs.

The Navy Nurse Corps birthday celebration at Lovell FHCC and NMRTC Great Lakes looked a little different this year, as a lot of events have, and was held mostly remote. A small group of nurse corps officers and leaders gathered for a ceremonial cake cutting, and were joined by hospital director Dr. Robert Buckley. Alternatively, some Lovell Navy leaders sent in video messages of them reading birthday letters to the Navy Nurse Corps.

Commander David You, Clinical Director of Medicine, read a letter on behalf of the Navy Medical Corps; Command Master Chief Veronica Brittenum read a letter on behalf of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Force Master Chief; Commander Evan Whitbeck, Associate Director of Dental, read a letter on behalf of the Navy Dental Corps; and Lieutenant Shannette Davis, Department Head MILPERs, read a letter on behalf of the Director of the Medical Service Corps.

All recorded messages and pictures from the event can be viewed on our FHCC Facebook page.

MOVE! Success


Veteran Steve Kolner has lost 60 pounds so far participating in MOVE! at Lovell FHCC’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He participates in MOVE! group sessions, telephone lifestyle coaching and individual MOVE! Sessions with a MOVE! coordinator.

Steve agreed to share his MOVE! success story.

“I have had trouble with my weight my whole life. But since I have been in the MOVE! Program, my weight has started to come off. I believe it's not only by going through the program with the book twice but the one-on-one counseling with the MOVE! coordinator that helped me. She is very supportive and helpful in my continued weight loss. Without her help, I would not be losing weight. She finds alternatives to foods that I should be eating but do not like, and she works with me to obtain my goals. My coordinator's positive encouragement and reinforcement has been a big help.

Most weight-loss programs only give you negative feedback but by getting both, it makes it more enjoyable and easier to follow-through on. She works with me on alternatives for obtaining steps, based on the types of exercise I can do.

My first goal was to lose weight. I first cut my calories way down, to 1,000 calories a day, by decreasing portion sizes and skipping meals.

My MOVE! Coordinator helped me realize that was too low, and some of the other changes I was making were not the best. After individualized sessions, I’m now making changes that work better with my lifestyle.

What surprised me with my weight loss was that you can still eat food, feel full and lose weight. I always looked as going on a diet as needing to starve yourself to get the weight off of you. You can still eat; you just have to eat the right kind of food.

My goal weight is under 300 pounds. The thing that keeps me going is the MOVE! Coordinator’s feedback and knowing it’s not going to happen overnight.”

For more information about Lovell FHCC's MOVE! program, contact Lynnsey Bogash, 224-610-5331.

See his before picture on the right, his after picture on the left. CONGRATS Steve!

Sent to Email Address on behalf of US Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration · 810 Vermont Avenue, NW · Washington, DC 20420 · 877-222-VETS (877-222-8387)