New medical program to improve Airman readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Solomon Cook
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

As Airmen go through their annual medical checkups, they may see the physician and nurses, but they may not see the personnel that work behind the scenes. These quiet professionals work tirelessly to ensure all their medical records regarding deployment readiness are up to date and annotated.

Flight medicine Airmen with the 325th Aerospace Medicine Squadron have started a transition to further the accuracy and expedite the process for Airmen who deploy. The new concept comes in the form of the base operational medicine clinic, or BOMC. This program complements the flight operational clinic, FOMC.

“The base operational medical clinic is more of the administrative part of the office, FOMC is the hands on,” said Tech. Sgt. Ashley Carter, 325th AMDS Flight Medicine flight chief. “In FOMC we actually see the patients, do physical exams, diagnosis and give medication. Additionally, we put the patients on profiles if need be. Both sections are very important and work closely together. We cannot have one without the other.”

The new process came about in 2013, when the first phase of the project was launched at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, and is now an Air Force-wide initiative.

“It was implemented at Tyndall in the June-July 2016 timeframe,” said Tech Sgt. Allen Calais, 325th AMDS NCO in charge of BOMC. “The Air Force is trying to make BOMC a one-stop-shop for patients. This is done by consolidating records from different offices in the 325th Medical Group, with the hopes of streamlining the process.”

Airmen will see a difference in how their annual physical health assessments take place electronically, opposed to the in-person interviews of the past.

“Physical health assessments used to require an annual face-to-face interview, but now it is done electronically,” Calais said. “This is good for maintainers and those who work swing shifts. Without having to do a PHA in person we can complete their requirements without having to see them physically.”

Once BOMC is fully implemented and operational, the 325th ADMS will be able to see more patients in a shorter amount of time. With all new processes, there is an adjustment period. These are put forward in the way of phases. Phase one should last one to two years, and phase two should take approximately three to five years, Calais added.

Due to the Air Force-wide transition, Airmen may notice their PHA requirement become red on the Air Force Portal My Individual Medical Readiness site, but they should not be alarmed.

“Right now, the Air Force has a backlog of PHAs while implementing the new program,” Calais said. “The medical services are working to reshape the program to get back on track. People are turning red on their IMR, and that is not good. It’s a big thing, and not too many people understand it right now, but we are here to ensure Airmen are ready to deploy from a medical standpoint.”

The Airmen are working extended hours to ensure the program runs properly. Calais also wanted to highlight the importance of this new innovation in regards to deployment readiness.

“Airmen may not know, but PHAs touches so many different places,” he said. “It encompasses immunizations, labs, occupational health – for flyers and non-flyers. There is a lot that goes into it, we look through family history, personal history, injuries. When the record review began, it was looking back 10 years. When you have to review someone who is a master sergeant, it can take a long time, but we are on track.”

As the new process is implemented, the professionals of the 325th ADMS will continue their mission, ensuring the medical readiness of the Airmen at Tyndall AFB.

“In the end this will be a better process,” Calais said. “If Airmen are tasked to deploy in a week, you will be ready in a week. Before, as it stood, there would be a long list of what needs to be done. With BOMC, there may only be one or two things that have to be completed.”