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Hill's clinic undergoes major transformations

A floor plan with the locations of the new Airmen clinic and family medicine clinic.

A floor plan outlines the locations of the new Airmen clinic and family medicine clinic at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (Air Force graphic)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- In order to provide more efficient patient care and meet Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century goals, the 75th Medical Group is making major changes to the base clinic operations.

After the Hill Air Force Base clinic opens its doors today, the 75 MDG was one of the first medical groups in the Air Force to consolidate many of its services into just two clinics; the family medicine clinic and the Airmen clinic.

"As we transform, quality of care will not suffer; it will improve," said Col. Matthew Chini, 75 MDG commander. "Access to care will be a challenge for a short time, but the result, in the long run, will be better service to our beneficiaries."

Under the new arrangement, the Airmen clinic will consist of family practice and women's health services, as well as administrative services like deployment medicine, force health management and medical evaluation board processing. These services will be combined to give servicemembers better access to care. This clinic will be accessible by using the doors near the optometry and flight medicine clinics.

The family medicine clinic, on the other hand, will be for the dependants of servicemembers and retirees, as well as the retirees themselves. This clinic will also incorporate family practice and women's health services as well as pediatric services to improve patient care access. The Family Medicine Clinic will be accessible through the main lobby doors.

Additionally, immunizations will be more centrally relocated next to the patient records office, and third party collections will move to the office space next to the pharmacy.

The changes came about after a healthcare consumer advisory council meeting in May, Colonel Chini said. "Some of the biggest things participants brought up were the ease of making appointments that were convenient for them and how much time they were spending with their primary care managers. People also said they didn't want to spend time waiting in the clinic for their appointments."

He said he shared this information with his staff, and challenged them to streamline and redefine medical group processes. The result is how the clinic is currently being changed.

"Like the rest of the Air Force, we are attempting to cut waste and provide medical care more efficiently, keeping in mind high quality, low cost and high patient satisfaction," Colonel Chini said.

By consolidating the active-duty readiness administrative requirements to the Airmen clinic, family medicine clinic providers won't have to split their time between their patients and administrative requirements for servicemembers. Instead, they will have more time to focus solely on their patients.

The Airmen clinic will conduct preventative health assessments, profiles, review medical evaluation board packages and incorporate other medical readiness requirements. The colonel said he hopes by consolidating these functions, the clinic will be able to see servicemembers in a more timely manner.

"I envision the Airmen clinic providers going out to the work centers and learning more about the special needs of their active-duty members," Colonel Chini said. "This idea is not unlike the flight surgeons relationship to our flying community."

This idea came about when an Airman of explosive ordnance disposal said he would like his provider to better understand the physical demands of his job, which he felt would bridge the gap and explain some of his medical needs.

For more information on the clinic transformation or to offer ideas on how to help improve the clinic call Julie Piper 586-9761.