Story by A1C Jacob Stephens on 09/04/2019The 355th Medical Group performed a reorganization ceremony at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Aug. 29, 2019.
In the reorganization, the 355th Dental Squadron was deactivated and re-serviced alongside the 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and part of the 355th Medical Operation Squadron to create the 355th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron. The rest of the 355th MDOS was re-designated to become the 355th Healthcare Operations Squadron. The 355th Medical Support Squadron will remain intact and continue its mission as is.
"The main reason for the reorganization is to align Air Force medicine with the National Defense Strategy of 2018," said Col. Patrick Parsons, 355th MDG commander. "In this strategy, there is a heightened focus on readiness. This reorganization aims to improve the overall readiness of the operational force while maintaining dedicated access and provider teams for our other beneficiaries."
The Air Force-wide initiative, set forward Feb. 11, 2019, was ordered by former Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson and current Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein. The changes are currently being implemented across all continental United States bases for trial before moving to overseas bases.
"The changes will help shape the future of Air Force medicine," said Parsons. "It will increase our ability to provide fit-to-fight Airmen and ready medical forces in support of operational requirements across all domains."
Medics have already started and will continue to work in the squadrons, or line units on base, to better asses the daily risks and needs of Airmen in their job. With a better understanding of the day-to-day duties of Airmen, the MDG is ensuring its ability to give the best, most effective care.
"There will be a primary care clinic for dependents and beneficiaries, as well as a very specific primary care clinic for active-duty," said Parsons. "The active duty clinic medics have already started, and will continue to visit and embed themselves with the line units to learn operational risks and habits so we can provide better medicine."
Though the structure of the MDG has changed, there will be no change in facilities or care experienced by patients, said Parsons. The facilities will remain the same with similar staffing and all current medics will be merged into their respective shops.
"We are splitting up into teams to focus on active duty and beneficiary care, but at the end of the day, the ultimate patient care experience will not change," said Parsons. "No matter the change that occurs, our progress is not measured by the patch we wear on our shoulders, but by our ability to maximize Readiness Through Trusted Care to all we serve. Our Active Duty, General Schedule and Contractor "Desert Medics" are committed to ensuring the highest quality of care to all our patients, no matter their beneficiary status or what clinic or squadron they are seen within. We are committed to a patient care experience founded on mutual respect, trust, safety, quality, innovation and MDG effectiveness."
The Air Force-wide medical realignments are just one example of how the Air Force continues to ensure readiness and lethality across the entire service.