62nd Medical Squadron earns excellent HSI rating
By Lorin T. Smith, Northwest Guardian
/ Published March 02, 2011
2/23/2011 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
The 62nd Medical Squadron and the McChord Clinic at McChord Field can say with pride that their duty performance is "excellent" -- they have the inspection paperwork to prove it.
A team from the Air Force Inspection Agency's Medical Operations Directorate visited the 62nd MDS late January to assess the unit's ability to deliver quality patient care, occupational health and deployment readiness. The base's Health and Wellness Center was also evaluated.
The inspection team gave the squadron and its 73 active-duty Airmen and civilian employees an overall rating of 90 percent; all individual elements of the squadron earned at least three of the maximum four points, giving the unit its "Excellent" rating.
The intensive four-day Health Services Inspection showcased how well the clinic delivers medicine to its Airmen, said Col. (Dr.) Catherine Bard, 62nd MDS commander.
An "excellent" on the inspection "shows that the 62nd Medical Squadron is meeting its mission to ensure that the (62nd Airlift Wing) and tenant organizations can meet their mission, and we are doing it in an excellent fashion."
This was not a normal inspection most Air Force bases' clinics undergo. Because the McChord Clinic now falls under Joint Base Lewis-McChord, certain health care elements performed by Air Force personnel now belong to the Army and Madigan Healthcare System, Bard said. Other requirements have gone away completely.
The clinic typically gets inspected every three years, but McChord was given a one-year waiver to prepare for this inspection to have adequate time to sort out each service's responsibilities under the new joint base structure, she said. And because this was the first clinic to be evaluated as a joint base, generating the Air Force's first interservice, limited-scope Medical Treatment Facility Health Services Inspection.
"(AIFA) recreated their computer program in order to be able to test us," said Bard.
Two major achievements noted by the inspection agency were McChord's new Acute Care Walk-in Center, or what the Army would call "Sick Call." Airmen not needing to go to the emergency room can use ACWIC to be seen by a health care provider. Follow-on appointments can be made if future visits are deemed necessary by the provider. As a result, the ACWIC has significantly reduced the number of visits active-duty Airmen make to the emergency room, Bard said.
The inspection team looks at thousands of pages of documents, and keeping track of who does what can be difficult. The 62nd AW's new matrix of responsibility details what medical services are performed by the Air Force and which are done by the Army. The matrix document alerted inspectors to what medical services are provided at McChord Field or Madigan Healthcare System.
"The matrix should serve as a template for other joint bases to emulate, but realizing that each base will have different support networks and internal staff capabilities to consider," wrote the inspection team to Bard.
The inspection team recognized three 62nd AW Airmen as outstanding performers, which recognized those medical and service professionals who went beyond the requirements of their jobs. Tech. Sgt. Eric Peterson, McChord Clinic's public health non commissioned officer in charge, said even though he received the honor, getting the job is a team effort.
"We all work as a team to help everyone out in this clinic," Peterson said.