55th Medical Group
/ Published April 25, 2019
Lt. Col. Melanie Ellis, 35th Medical Operations Squadron commander, examines a patient at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Mar. 14, 2014. Ellis is being recognized for her mentorship, experience and countless accomplishments in her 20-year career as a physician assistant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Araceli Alarcon)
Last month, the 55th Medical Group activated the new Warhawks Active Duty Clinic that allows designated providers and support staff to focus on operational medical readiness.
Military members assigned to the clinic will be assigned to a Primary Care Manager based on their assigned unit, a structure currently in place for flyers and others performing sensitive duties.
The first phase of the group’s realignment kicked off in early March, with members of the 55th Maintenance Group, 20th Intelligence Squadron, Marines and Heartland of America Band re-assigned to Capt. Amanda Atitya, 55th MDG nurse practitioner. This month, the second phase of realignment aligned members of the 55th Communications Group, 595th Command and Control Group, 55th Operations Support Squadron and U.S. Public Health Service members with Capt. Laura Fuller, 55th MDG physician assistant.
After the final transition phase in mid-May, primary care for military members will be provided through four healthcare teams assigned to the Warhawks Clinic. Patients currently seen by Flight and Operational Medicine will not be impacted by these changes.
“Previously, active duty members were assigned to more than 40 different Primary Care Managers across our Family Health, Family Medicine and Internal Medicine clinics,” said Dana Conaway, 55th MDG practice manager. “Consolidating Active Duty care into our Warhawks clinic provides unit leaders streamlined access to healthcare teams, improving communication and optimizing care based on the unique mission and health needs of unit personnel.”
In order to balance resources to enhance the military mission, some family members and retirees are being reassigned to other Family Health, Family Medicine and Pediatric Clinic PCMs who provide healthcare to non-Active Duty patients. This realignment of staffing and resources helps the group focus their sustained delivery of high quality trusted care across two unique patient populations.
Improvements in appointment access and patient continuity with their assigned PCM are expected with this transition.
Patients are encouraged to verify and update their DEERS information at https://milconnect-pki.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/ to receive advance notification of PCM changes.
“Recent organizational culture changes within the Air Force Medical Service focus on restoring the readiness, deployability and lethality of the Total Force,” Conaway said. “The new initiative is aimed at streamlining healthcare for Team Offutt military members and aligns with 55th MDG’s mission to ensure medically ready forces, develop expeditionary medics and deliver trusted care.”