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Combined clinic initiative simplifies Holloman healthcare

Combined clinic initiative simplifies Holloman healthcare

Capt. Jason Pickett, 49th Dental Flight doctor (right), and Tammy Mendez, 49th Dental Flight dental assistant (left), pose for a photo on Holloman Air Force Base, June 26, 2018. As part of the new combined clinic initiative at Holloman, patients are now completing their Periodic Health Assessment at their annual dental appointments. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman Kindra Stewart)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

With the goal of efficiency and innovation in mind, the 49th Medical Group has developed a combined clinic initiative, grouping annual medical requirements into one appointment at one location.

“We have a lot more requirements than we do people,” said Col. Paul Brezinski, 49th MDG commander. “With these requirements, we wanted to look at the things we could do to improve what is best for the patient and the staff.”

Maj. Edward East, 49th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight commander, estimates that Airmen spend up to six hours a year taking care of annual medical requirements. Given the base’s population of 4,300, the medical staff has spent roughly 20,000 hours on annual requirements.

“We started brainstorming a little bit and decided, ‘Why don’t we just do a one stop shop?’” East said. “When an Airman comes to the clinic, they’re going to get everything done.”

To reduce patients’ travel time, waiting time and time away from work, the 49th MDG set up a Periodic Health Assessment cell in the dental clinic, which is staffed by a rotation of primary care managers.

East said when a patient schedules their dental exam, they will be prompted to fill out their PHA questionnaire, which must be completed before their appointment. On the day of their appointment, they will receive their dental care and schedule the rest of their annual medical exams at the dental clinic.

“The real key to the process is the simplicity of it,” said Lt. Col. James Thompson, 49th AMDS dental flight commander. “We wanted to maximize the benefit to the patient, but we also wanted to maximize our own operations.”

Since the beginning of the initiative, the 49th MDG has received positive feedback from patients, commanders and the PCM teams. Fifteen other bases have asked for the concept of the operations.

“This model can absolutely be implemented at other bases,” said Lt. Col. Joanne Clark, 49th AMDS commander. “We have laid out the foundation for this concept for other bases to essentially take it, do what they want with it and really build upon it. That is what’s really great about this model.”

(Information from www.acc.af.mil was used in the publication of this article.)