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Medical Airmen committed to patients, readiness throughout transformation

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Robert I. Miller
  • Director, Medical Operations and Research
As the Air Force Medical Service undergoes transformation, medical Airmen maintain an unwavering commitment to readiness and Trusted Care.

On Oct. 1, administration and management of select Air Force military treatment facilities began transitioning to the Defense Health Agency. Although this creates challenges, the AFMS focus on full spectrum medical readiness and delivering Trusted Care provides direction to medical Airmen and assurance to patients and families.

In the AFMS, our readiness mission and Trusted Care culture are parallel and complimentary efforts. Practicing medicine in our hospitals and clinics is an irreplaceable part of keeping our medical skills sharp for deployment. Medical Airmen show the same Trusted Care commitment to injured troops in the back of a C-130 over Afghanistan as they do for family members and retirees in one of our hospitals or clinics.

Those efforts stay true, evening during transition or crisis. Consider the readiness displayed by Airmen during the responses to Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Within hours of landfall, the Air Force deployed air transportable clinics to treat patients, and flew in medics to staff them from multiple locations across the country. When called upon, Air Force medics delivered high quality, patient-focused care to communities devastated by the storms.

When contingencies arise, whether they be disaster relief or conflict, organizational turbulence takes a backseat. The mission always comes first. Now, with a congressional mandate to transfer military hospitals and clinics to the DHA, we have entered a new era of partnership and cooperation across military medicine. Every stakeholder in this process has a shared vision of improving the way we execute our missions.

Already, the AFMS is working with DHA, Army and Navy to deliver forces and capabilities requested by combatant commanders, while maintaining the same high level of care our patients expect. We have long trained with our Joint partners, preparing for homeland crises and overseas contingencies. Medical mission integration through the DHA will make us better and stronger through shared processes, policies, and platforms.

Air Force Medicine is built on the foundation of commitment to our mission and caring for our patients. This is true on the battlefield, the flooded streets of our coastal communities, and in our everyday practice. Every medical Airman should be proud of this commitment. No matter how our organization transforms, Air Force medicine will exist for the same purpose – to care for the warfighter and protect our nation.

The evolution of the AFMS will not happen overnight, nor will it have a definitive end point. We are always looking for better ways to deliver Trusted Care, Anywhere. Our readiness mission depends on it. Our patients depend on it. Our country depends on it. Working with DHA, we will always deliver a ready medical force, and a medically ready force at home and abroad.