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Health Beat: New Active Duty Medicine Clinic open for care

The opening of a new clinic specifically for active duty personnel at the 72nd Medical Group Building, the Active Duty Medicine Clinic, has created the opportunity to better address medical care for active duty personnel, retirees and dependents.

Also known as the Warrior Optimization Medical Clinic, the Active Duty Medicine Clinic is broken down in such a way that each squadron or unit on Tinker is assigned a specific care provider. This squadron-based approach is something that not only allows for individual medical care, but also provides a more complete view of the entire squadron’s health, according to Col. Jennifer Trinkle, 72nd Medical Group commander.

“There were a lot of great things that have come out of this initiative, such as how we reformed the care across our facility and the care we are providing to our patients as a whole,” Trinkle said.

Another benefit Trinkle said from creating a separate Active Duty Medicine Clinic has been the creation of more appointment openings within the Family Health Clinic for dependents and retirees.

“There’s a lot of administrative work that goes along with an active duty member on top of medically taking care of them,” Trinkle said. “By taking all of our dependents and retirees and putting them in the Family Health Clinic alone with those providers, it actually gives better access to care for them.”

Changes like this ensures that providers are able to address the needs of all of the patients in their care. Trinkle said the clinic had found itself in a situation over the summer where there were too many patients for the providers to handle.

As active duty personnel are the primary responsibility of the clinic, the Family Health Clinic had stopped taking on new dependent and retiree patients. With the creation of the new Active Duty Medicine Clinic, the Family Health Clinic has again been opened to Active Duty dependents as of Dec. 20.

The 72nd Medical Group is carrying that same momentum forward into 2020, continuing to solicit the input of patients through more patient engagement events such as their regular Coffee with the Commander and opportunities for patients to provide feedback through a series of voluntary panels.

“We have a partnership for patients council that we’ve been trying to launch and get moving forward, we are actually looking for patient volunteers that might want to sit on our process improvement panels,” Trinkle said. “This way we can actually get some feedback on the process improvements from the patients themselves and we can know how it affects them before we ever launch the program.”

Trinkle said that they have hosted two meetings and have four patients who have volunteered, but that they are looking for a total of eight to 11 members to volunteer on the council to provide feedback. Participation in the panels does require training and attendance of the meetings, which are held quarterly.

“This is just the beginning of a lot of new medical reforms that will be going on,” Trinkle said. “As we progress through the year, part of what we will do is look at how we can improve internally in the Medical Group. We’ll be looking for patients to let us know how we can improve things and get more perspective from our staff.”