Health & Safety

September 20, 2012

‘On house’ medical services not really free

Capt. James Schuhs
56th Medical Group

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — How many times have you heard that those in the military receive “free” medical care? Well, it is free isn’t it?

Not even close. In fact, every aspect of a person’s medical care has a cost. Each year the Defense Department spends more than $50 billion for medical care, and every year that cost increases. As Congress struggles to find ways to cut costs, one area their eyes have turned toward is military healthcare expenditures. One might ask, “What does the DOD budget have to do with me?”

Individuals likely have much more influence on medical care costs than one might think. Focusing attention briefly on one aspect of military healthcare that can be extremely expensive is the use of emergency room services at civilian hospitals. Many military treatment facilities are shutting down their emergency rooms to cut costs, and military members and their dependents are left using civilian emergency rooms when they need treatment for life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Notice the phrase “life-threatening.”

The definition of a medical emergency is any illness or injury that threatens the loss of life, limb or eyesight. Unfortunately, individuals routinely use the emergency room for reasons that don’t even remotely fit that definition. The reasons run the gamut but most often are convenience, inability to get an appointment with a primary care manager, lack of information and even fear.

I won’t bore you with statistics, but suffice it to say inappropriate use of the emergency room for mild or moderate illness and injury is extremely expensive and is one of the key factors in driving up the costs of military health care. It is also one of the things that we, as responsible Airmen and citizens, can exert some direct personal control over. As a healthcare provider in the 56th Medical Group, I realize we play a part as well.

Leaders in the 56th MDG recently focused much time and energy on identifying how we can help do our part to address this issue. We are currently implementing measures we hope will make it easier to obtain appointments, not only for routine care, but especially for more urgent medical needs that are not serious enough to result in the loss of life, limb or eyesight without immediate treatment. Highly skilled nurses are available for telephone consultation during regular hours. Providers are on call after 4 p.m. weekdays and around the clock on weekends and holidays.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

9/11 Tower Challenge held at UofA

The Never Forgotten 9/11 Tower Challenge was held at the University of Arizona Football Stadium on Sept. 11. Approximately 350 participants, including personnel from D-M, attempted the challenge of climbing 2,071 stairs. This f...
 
 

Core elements work together

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The Air Force has built a suicide prevention program based on 11 overlapping core elements that stress community involvement and leadership in the prevention of suicides in the military: Leadership involvement — Air Force leaders actively support the entire spectrum of suicide prevention initiatives in the community. Addressing suicide...
 
 

Keep sports safe

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Playing sports is fun and it helps people keep in shape and relieve stress. However, if one is not careful, playing sports can result in injuries that keep Airmen on the sideline and out of work. “The main cause of sports-related injuries is over aggressive play and people going...
 

 
DoD

Ice bucket challenge – What does DOD say?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — If you have been following social media lately, you’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over your newsfeed and Instagram. This has become an internet phenomenon in which people get doused with ice water to raise money to combat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease....
 
 

Air Force Enlisted Village: Not just a place to live, a place to call home

I first visited the Air Force Enlisted Village as a young first sergeant in 2009, when I was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. I went to visit with the Tyndall Active Airmen’s Association, Tyndall’s E-1 to E-4 Professional Association, and was amazed at what I saw. This was also the first time I...
 
 

Advise Airmen of rights before asking questions

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Every day supervisors are faced with challenging scenarios and situations that require them to engage in efforts to help their Airmen. When this engagement is due to a negative act such as theft, damage to property or other possible legal violations, we must resist the instinct to question them...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin