Winona, MN – Vighter Medical Group and Georgia’s public medical school have teamed up to provide medical support to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Vighter Medical Group and the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University have signed a five-year contract that ensures the FBI always has physician and medic support for the Bureau’s field operations. Services provided under this contract include: tactical medical support, arranging transport of injured individuals to medical facilities, setting up field hospitals when needed and training the FBI’s medical staff.
The front line includes Dr. Jeffery A. Lee, CEO of Vighter, a retired military medical officer and former U.S. Army Special Forces Medic; Rob Mulry, Director of the MCG Center of Operational Medicine, a retired FBI medic; and Dr. Richard Schwartz, Chair of the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine, a former member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces who has led the contract with the FBI for 10 years, and worked closely with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the military and other police agencies to optimize safety and survival in high-risk operations.
The pairing was prompted due to a total small business requirement incorporated into the contract which required that a small business take the lead. When the final request for proposals was received Dr. Lee and Dr. Schwartz immediately thought they’d make good partners in the venture due to the complementary fit of the two group’s expertise. MCG has provided medical services to the FBI for more than a decade and this experience will be vital as this is the first FBI contract Vighter has been awarded.
Vighter provides primarily medic and occupational medicine support to a field operation either by phone or in person and MCG provides primarily physician support. “Our special operations medical providers have extensive overseas experience and are able to provide services around the world, but the physician support provided by MCG will greatly enhance our capabilities” said Vighter’s CEO, Dr. Jeffrey Lee.
About one third of MCG’s 35 emergency medicine physicians have the Department of Justice security clearance needed to work with the FBI. Additionally, MCG currently has one medic assigned full time to the FBI in Quantico, Va.
“We will deploy with the FBI as needed,” Schwartz said. “If there is a large field operation that is very remote from what we would consider modern medical facilities, for example, we have the capability of setting up a surgical unit close to the site of the operation where we can stabilize casualties and determine how to get them from that location to where they can safely get the definitive medical care they need.”
Vighter oversees about 60 medics skilled in these on-the-scene maneuvers with other non-medical organizations in high-risk areas such as ground operations to support the war effort in Afghanistan.
In addition to being on the ground or on the phone, Vighter and MCG provide standing protocols that help advanced-capability medics working for the FBI better manage a variety of scenarios. MCG also brings FBI medics to the Georgia Regents Health System to get hands on training in areas such as the operating room and emergency department.
“Perhaps especially for a small organization like ours, it’s an incredible privilege to support the premier law enforcement agency in the world and we’re pleased to team with MCG to do this,” Lee said. “It’s a huge deal for us.” Schwartz concurs. “It’s exciting that we have the continuing opportunity to support the FBI and the new relationship with Vighter takes that support to the next level,” he said.
Vighter, (see www.vighter.com) founded five years ago and based in Winona, Minnesota, regularly works with government organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State, as well as corporations around the world.
MCG’s Center for Operational Medicine (see http://www.georgiahealth.edu/ems/COM/) works with local and state police, as well as the FBI and other federal agencies to provide medical training and support to their forces as well as the medics assigned to them.
In fact, the MCG center developed a Special Tactics for Operational Rescue and Medicine (STORM) course patterned after the military’s Tactical Combat Casualty Care course, for front-line agents in the FBI and other federal agencies that helps law enforcement personnel take better care of each other.
The center also has helped develop a series of courses now used around the world that help a wide array of providers – from police to paramedics to hospital administrators and firefighters – work optimally together in the aftermath of natural and manmade disasters.