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4th Medical Group undergoes restructure; streamlines health care services

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Michael Charles
  • 4FW PA
Beginning Oct. 7, the 4th Medical Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will start reorganizing health care services offered at the clinic.

In this new medical services model, an Operational Medical Readiness Squadron and a Health Care Operations Squadron are being created, with roles aimed at increasing the timeliness of the care given to patients at Team Seymour based on their beneficiary’s status.

“The changes being implemented are driven by the Air Force’s need to improve its medical services and deployment readiness culture,” said Lt. Col. Reid Orth, 4th OMRS Commander. “This reorganization will enhance the Air Force’s ability to proactively manage our Airmen’s deployability and ensure the health care needs of all Team Seymour patients are met.”

The newly formed 4th OMRS will provide care for all active duty personnel assigned to the installation, while the 4th HCOS will focus its care on all non-active duty patients, including retirees and dependents.

“This change will provide our medical teams the flexibility to be more responsive to the needs of our active duty personnel on the installation,” Orth said. “This also means more focused medical care for non-active duty patients. Both our active duty and non-active duty patients will continue to receive the Trusted Care upon which you have come to rely on from our 4th MDG medics.”

In order to provide a better understanding about possible changes following the restructure, the 4th MDG is organizing an information townhall at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct 23, at Heritage Hall to answer any questions Team Seymour may have about the changes.

Orth also answered a few common questions about the new changes below.

I am a dependent. How will this impact my care?

Non-active duty individuals, to include dependents of flyers, will be assigned a primary care manager in the HCOS in accordance with guidance from Headquarters Air Force. We anticipate that more than half of the dependents will retain the primary care manager in their current primary care manager team (provider, nurse, and technician).

I am an active duty member. How will this impact my care?

Active duty personnel will be assigned a primary care manager in the 4th OMRS. The primary care manager they are assigned will be based on the squadron within which they work. Aligning the primary care manager to the squadrons allows the provider to work with your leadership to meet the specific needs of the unit. This alignment will allow the medical group’s PCMs to detect trends within the unit and return members to full-mission capability faster.

Is the process similar if I am a military dependent or a retiree who receives care on the installation?

Non-active duty individuals, to include all military dependents and retirees who receive care on the installation, will be assigned a primary care manager in the HCOS.

Will my ability to schedule an appointment be affected during this transition?

Initially those seeking an appointment may see a short delay. However, we are working hard to transition to this new process as seamlessly as possible without impacting the care of the individuals currently receiving treatment from our health care professionals or those in need of medical services.

How do I know if I have been assigned a new primary care manager?

All members are able to access information regarding their specific primary care manager from the Patient Portal or MiCARE.

Will I be able to keep my current primary care manager?

We are making every attempt to keep our non-active duty individuals with their current primary care manager. However, there will be some cases where a change is necessary in order to maintain the timeliness and effectiveness of the medical service we provide to our patients.

Our active duty primary care managers are aligned with squadrons, and the primary care manager assignment is determined based upon the Airmen’s squadron. By grouping units and working closely with our active duty member’s leadership team, the primary care manager will gain a better understanding of the physical and mental stressors of each unit. This allows us to provide the medical care that is tailored to the needs of each squadron. It also helps the primary care managers become subject matter experts for the specific medical needs of members within each squadron.

What if I prefer another provider than the one I have been assigned?

Non-active duty individuals will have the ability to request another provider in HCOS. Please note that the medical group strives to maintain an equitable provider to patient balance and, as such, factors this into the timing and availability of primary care managers for assignment. Requests to change primary care managers should be processed through the TRICARE Operations and Patient Administration office.

To maintain the integrity of assignments between providers and squadrons, active duty requests for another primary care manager will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Do I have the option to seek a new primary care provider off base if I prefer to be seen outside of the installation?

Non-active duty patient requests to seek primary care off base are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If interested, patients may seek primary care elsewhere at their own expense, if not approved. Requests to change primary care managers should be processed through the TOPA office.

Active duty personnel must be seen by an OMRS primary care manager.

Will my primary care manager still be able to refer me to off-base specialty providers if needed?

Yes. The referral process will be the same, and the status can be checked via your Humana military account. Once the referral has been approved, you can contact the off-base provider’s office and schedule your appointment.

How does this affect my current and future medical evaluation board?

Providers will complete all narrative summaries, for their patient population, which are currently in process. Once the NARSUM has been submitted to our MEB program manager, a thorough handoff will occur between your old and new providers, to ensure proper continuity of care and review.

Will I receive care in the same location within the facility?

Your services may be rendered in a different location within the facility. Our staff will guide you in the right direction to receive your care.

How will the medical group ensure proper continuity of care between my previous and current provider?

Our providers and care teams will work closely together and communicate regarding your medical history to ensure that continuity of care is appropriately maintained.

With the reorganization, will this affect my retirement or separation, and my separation health physical exam or my retirement separation physical?

No. The SHPE Program Coordinator will continue to process all SHPEs, as well as Veterans Affairs processing. If your SHPE is conducted in the medical group, it will be with your primary care manager.

As a non-active duty dependent, if I move from Flight Medicine will my access to care change?

Patients will be assigned to a larger team of professionals that are dedicated to non-active duty care, we anticipate that your access will be consistent with your current care and has a good chance to improve as well.

Will my provider understand my needs as the spouse of a flyer?

Yes. One of the current Flight Medicine providers will transfer to HCOS and another provider understands the needs of flyer spouses as she is a spouse of a flyer herself.

Who should I contact if I am having issues with the reorganization?

Questions regarding the reorganization can be sent to the following organization box which is closely monitored:

Patient advocates are also available in the medical group. During the initial transition of the reorganization, additional staff will assist the patient advocate address questions and concerns.

Will the option for obtaining urgent or emergency care off base change?

No. Basic guidelines are listed here. For a complete list of TRICARE’s Urgent Care Rules, please see the following:

My question wasn’t asked. Is there a forum I can go to hear more information and ask questions about the changes?

Yes. 4th MDG will hold a townhall about the restructuring at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Heritage Hall on base. Medical professionals will be on hand to answer any questions and address any concerns.

Are there any closing thoughts?

The 4th MDG is transitioning, but the care that our Team Seymour patients receive from our medical professionals will not decrease. Regardless of status, each patient will continue to receive the Trusted Care upon which they have come to rely.