Revitalizing health care: Trainee clinic targets needs of short-term students|
by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs
3/25/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The trainee health clinic aims to provide speedy, accurate acute medical care, allowing students to return to their classes.
"We'll place these students back in their training environment as quickly and safely as possible -- the key word being 'safely'" said Lt. Col. Michael Lundy, commander of the 42nd Aeromedical-Dental Operations Squadron.
The option to establish a clinic for those not enrolled in the family health clinic is part of the Air Force-wide family health initiative. The family health clinic will now focus solely on those enrolled in its program - permanent party active-duty service members, including Air Command and Staff College and Air War College students, their dependents and retirees.
Students at Maxwell and Gunter for temporary duty or in short courses will have open access to the sick-call trainee health clinic 7-9 a.m. starting April 1. Students include those at the Officer Training School, Squadron Officer School, Air and Space Basic Course and the noncommissioned officer courses at Gunter.
Similar programs are in place for students at Sheppard and Lackland Air Force bases in Texas.
"Our trainees' time is extremely limited and regimented," Colonel Lundy said. "Therefore, it's incumbent on us to get them back to their environment in a quick yet safe manner,"
He said the clinic anticipates seeing "orthopedic strains and sprains, as well as heat related injuries and illnesses. When you have a large number of people grouped together in a stressful environment, they can also pass along other illnesses, such as the cold, stomach bugs and influenza."
The clinic staff can perform trend analyses on the types of injuries, eventually predicting what medical issues will be seen and providing preventive care.
"We'll have the ability to identify trends specific to these students when we have a dedicated clinic just for them," Colonel Lundy said.
Individual duty medical technicians and a cadre of nurses will provide medical care during exercises, such as the ROTC encampments this summer.
These technicians receive advanced training in medical evaluation, diagnosis and therapeutics.
"They are force multipliers in a field training environment," he noted.
"There's a lot of moving parts to trainee health, but the overall goal is to treat students appropriately and get them back to training safely and quickly," Colonel Lundy said.
The family health initiative is a team-based, client-focused approach to medical care under the Patient-Centered Medical Home program. The Maxwell clinic focuses on three components: trainee health clinic, disease management and family health clinic.
"This is an active approach to establish a 'medical home' for everyone," said Lt. Col. Lynda Vu, 42nd Medical Operations Squadron commander.
Colonel Lundy said he is optimistic about the trainee health clinic and the family health initiative.
"I'm excited about it, and I know we have a good team," he said. "Everybody (at the Maxwell clinic) is committed to all three concepts succeeding."