Med group improves annual process
Story by A1C Mercedes Porter on 09/04/2019
The 7th Medical Group has improved the process for Airmen’s Periodic Health Assessments to ensure Airmen are deployable at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
Members of the 7th MDG took people’s concerns to heart and vowed to improve the PHA process. After many meetings and planning, it was decided that Airmen would complete their PHAs and annual dental exams during one visit instead of multiple visits throughout the year.
Airmen would first conduct their dental exam then complete their in-person PHA and mental health assessments at the family health care clinic during the same visit.
“Our goal is to ensure Airmen have minimal time away from work and create a one-stop shop for readiness exams,” said Lt. Col. Jon Standley, 7th MDG chief of medical staff.
The medical team expects individuals and units would possibly see extended individual medical readiness items in the red, or the “not deployable” status, until the process is fully in place. They ensured that after the appointments aligned, the readiness items would continue to be in the green and relieve the stress from Airmen staying deployment ready.
In a perfect world, the new process would be all that is needed. However, there are those other situations.
“We have a contingency process put into place for last-minute mission requirements, such as those who are deploying or new Airmen we receive,” said Maj. Cherriza Kellogg, 7th MDG group practice manager. “We also ask that before Airmen come to their appointment, they complete the online PHA questionnaire the day prior to ensure a faster appointment. Although, if forgotten, we do have laptops set for Airmen to complete the questions before their appointment.”
For the medical staff, this also helps distribute the workload to concentrate further on each individual Airman to make certain they receive the proper care and are deployment ready.
“After months of conducting this process, we have been able to give back 1,000 hours to the medical group staff and 1,500 hours to Team Dyess work centers,” said Tech. Sgt. Kerin Lange, 7th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of the operational medicine clinic.
After the new process was put into place, the medical staff saw an increase of assessments being consistently maintained for Airmen on a 98 percent average instead of the inconsistent PHA averages from before.