COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Decontamination tents, bandages, litter carries, tourniquets and medical evacuation forms. Computer-based training through ADLS and SWANK, Basic Life Support and Automated External Defibrillator Training. Group education on the latest Air Force Surgeon General’s initiatives, learning how to operate new medical equipment and in-service sessions to hone medical and administration skills. What is this laundry list of items? It represents just a few of the many our medical group Airmen must cover to stay proficient in our war and peacetime missions.
All personnel, to include civilian and contractor Airmen, must maintain currency in their specialties in order to best serve our customers. With 166 personnel spanning 46 AFSCs, all with different readiness skills, the requirements are abundant and diverse. Our skills to provide care in a peacetime environment can be very different from care on the battlefield—our ultimate mission as medical providers.
Imagine needing to know everything about ambulatory care within the clinic but still remaining proficient with traumatic amputations, eye blast injuries, blood transfusions and aeromedical evacuation procedures—all with the ultimate goal of providing zero harm to our valued service members and their families.
“The medical group uses the Comprehensive Medical Readiness Program (CMRP) that divides medical readiness training into categories to support targeted application of requirements for specific specialties, personnel, and missions across the full spectrum of Air Force military medical operations” said 1st Lt. Jamion Lewis, 14th Medical Group Medical Readiness flight commander.
“We have also established Contingency Response Teams based on local capabilities and mission requirements. These teams require hands-on and practical application training to ensure members are ready to respond to a real world disaster” said Lewis.
Add in an airshow and you’ve got a need to train a large amount of people for a unique scenario in a very small amount of time. Additionally, with two squadrons in the medical group, this time is also utilized for squadron and commander’s calls. Patient care team members also utilize this time to coordinate complex care between departments, a luxury that the average day may not afford.
In order to minimize impact to our very important patients, we have done studies to analyze the volume of patients which led our team to select the third Thursday of each month as the best time to conduct the crucial training. We have a marquee in front of the clinic to advertise closures and every month we post multiple signs throughout the clinic to remind our beneficiaries. While many Air Force clinics have opted to close for a full day to satisfy training requirements, the 14th MDG has elected to keep the pharmacy open during the morning hours from 0730-1100 to meet our customers’ needs.
When we’re closed, whether for a training day, a holiday, or even after hours, we still have multiple ways to assist our patients. For emergencies, defined as medical care necessary to save life, limb or eyesight, please call 911 or go to the closest emergency room. For non-emergent care, all patients can contact their primary care manager using our Relay Health secure messaging system at www.relayhealth.com .
For immediate advice regarding medical symptoms, Tricare beneficiaries may speak to a nurse 24/7 using the Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), Option 1. Enrollees may make primary care or optometry appointments anytime at www.tricareonline.com, which also provides convenient text message reminders of appointments booked in using that method.
Finally, new in 2018, non-active duty patients can seek Urgent Care from a network facility without a referral, but for continuity of care patients should always ensure their healthcare team is aware of all medical visits.
Avoid making the trip to the 14th MDG when we are closed: stay tuned to 14th MDG events and closures by liking our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/14MDG/.