Smart Ops 21; MDG’s new Sick Call gives Wolf Pack quicker, better care

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stephen Collier
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
In response to Wolf Pack members’ needs, the 8th Medical Group recently reinstituted the “Sick Call” system to allow for a more streamlined approach to acute medical care of servicemembers.

Sick Call, which accepts walk-ins from 7:45 to 8 a.m. every day, gives immediate attention to servicemembers to help keep the Wolf Pack ready to Take the Fight North, according to Lt. Col. Jane Hendricks-Vesel, 8th Medical Operations Squadron commander.

“Sick Call was developed as just one part of the medical operations squadron’s initiative to enhance the timeliness and quality of several primary care programs, including acute care, preventative health assessments and occupational health exams,” Col. Hendricks-Vesel said. “Commanders and supervisors now have a guaranteed time to ensure personnel need acute care are seen.”

Acute care needs, according to the 8th MDG, consist of, but are not limited to, colds and muscle strains.

Sick Call is the end result of more than a year’s worth of research conducted to assess the optimum type of care Wolf Pack members require. A panel, consisting of subject matter experts, was formed into a focus group that analyzed patient data from 2005.

Their findings, according to Col. Hendricks-Vesel, concluded the demand for acute care had increased, ultimately leading to patients concerned with the timeliness of their care.

“Since most of the Wolf Pack is young and healthy,” she said, “the major demand (for health care) has historically been … acute concerns and annual preventative health exams.”

While the new system has been up and running for several weeks now, there are still challenges with educating Wolf Pack members of its benefits.

Because of Sick Call, members no longer have to make an appointment for their acute needs. This is beneficial, according to Col. Hendricks-Vesel, because medical staff can now attend to the chronic needs of the Wolf Pack in a timelier manner.

“Besides educating the Wolf Pack about Sick Call being available, it’s important to educate the patients that Sick Call is for acute concerns only,” she pointed out. “Chronic conditions are best served by scheduling a routine appointment. The main challenge for us [is to] educate the Wolf Pack on the various types of appointments and how [they can] access care.”

In the long run, the 8th Medical Group believes the Sick Call system will enhance both patient care and medical staff satisfaction.

“The medical group has already received numerous patient comment cards on how pleased they are with the process,” she said. “If, however, the Sick Call time is not convenient for the patient, or a sudden emergency occurs, the clinic still reserves some acute slots for urgent care. These scheduling changes will allow for more dedicated time toward routine appointments without interruptions [for each Wolf Pack member].”