By Col. Imelda Catalasan, 19th Medical Group
/ Published June 17, 2019
Coming to a medical treatment facility near you—an intensely mission-focused 19th Medical Group!
In February 2019, the secretary of the Air Force directed the Air Force surgeon general to realign medical efforts to focus on readiness Air Force-wide. This model stemmed from the medical reform initiated at the 366th Fighter Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Mountain Home clinic was restructured to incorporate an operational medical readiness squadron serving Total Force Airmen who are required to be medically ready to deploy, as well as a healthcare operations squadron serving all other beneficiaries. The medical reform proved successful in proactively managing “downed Airmen,” resulting in improved readiness and squadron deployability. At the end of the day, this service-wide change is primarily driven by that – our continued focus on readiness.
On June 24, the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and the 19th Medical Operations Squadron will be officially re-designated as the 19th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron and the 19th Healthcare Operations Squadron, respectively. The 19th Medical Support Squadron will remain.
In this new construct, all Total Force military beneficiaries will be assigned to the OMR clinic under the 19th OMRS. This new model allows us to proactively manage Total Force medical care, effectively improving personnel availability while restoring readiness, deployability and force lethality. Each squadron will be assigned to a primary care team in the OMR clinic, allowing the primary care teams to really get to know their concerns by learning about the challenges specific to the unit. The goal is to partner with commanders to provide them a more robust capability.
On the other hand, all other beneficiaries will continue to receive their medical care in the family health and pediatrics clinics under the 19th HCOS. It is important to note that there will be no changes to beneficiary support functions such as the pharmacy, the laboratory and radiology, which fall under 19th MDSS. However, the physical exam board liaison officers will move from the 19th MDSS to the 19th OMRS to better serve the active-duty beneficiaries. It is important to know that the physical locations where you receive care are not changing for the time being. But if you are ever unsure about where you are going in our clinic – before or after these reforms – remember that you can always tag one of our medical professionals to help answer any questions … we are here to help.
This change is exciting! The bottom line is this: While the medical squadrons may be organized differently, the patients will receive an enhanced level of care. Why? This re-alignment allows our providers to focus on health care issues based on the beneficiary type and to ensure a patient-centered approach resulting in enhanced patient experience. And if all goes as planned, most of this realignment should be transparent to beneficiaries.
My team remains committed to delivering safe, trusted care to all our beneficiaries – it’s what we do best. As we continue to push forward on our readiness journey, the 19th MDG will continue to ensure medically ready forces and ready medics who support operational missions and our nation’s national security priorities. Thank you for trusting the 19th MDG with your healthcare needs.