By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
BETHESDA, Md. - Just two months remain before about 150 inpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., many of them wounded warriors, make the
five-mile move here to the National Naval Medical Center.
The relocation will mark a historic moment in both iconic institutions' histories and one of the final milestones before they officially merge to become the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Navy Capt. David A. Bitonti, chief of staff for integration and transition at the Bethesda facility, has been part of a team preparing for that merger since Congress directed it as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan.
The well-choreographed plan that has been driving the consolidation is now entering its home stretch. Construction projects that dominated the Bethesda campus for the past six years are completed.
Renovation efforts are wrapping up, and staff orientations are under way to ensure the newly arriving
staff members are able to provide uninterrupted patient care through the merger.
As the calendar moves steadily toward the Sept. 15 deadline for the consolidation to be completed, Bitoni said he's excited by the possibilities that will come from bringing the two flagship medical centers together as one organization.