Health & Safety

September 14, 2012

‘On house’ medical services not really free

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.

To consult with a provider after hours, dial the main appointment line at (623) 856-CARE (2273). Callers will be transferred to an on-call provider.

Providers on staff at Luke Air Force Base Outpatient Clinic are dedicated to giving patients the very best possible healthcare. We can work together to make changes to reduce costs and continue to provide high quality care through a robust but efficient military healthcare system.




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


 
 

 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces squadron handled the following incidents Feb. 9 through 15: Tickets Security forces issued citations for seven moving violations and one nonmoving violation. Traffic-related incidents Feb. 12: Security forces responded to a report of a gate runner at North Gate involving a nonmilitary affiliated civilian. Security forces initiated a traffic stop, detained...
 
 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handled the following incidents Feb. 2 through 8: Tickets Security forces issued citations for four moving violations and three nonmoving violations. Traffic-related incidents Feb. 2: Security forces responded to a report of a minor two-vehicle accident in base housing. Both vehicles sustained damage. There were no injuries. Feb. 3: Security forces...
 
 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handled the following incidents Jan. 26 through Feb. 5: Tickets Security forces issued citations for 10 moving violations and one nonmoving violation. Traffic-related incidents Jan. 26: Security forces responded to a report from an individual of damage to private property in the base exchange parking lot after returning from the...
 

 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handled the following incidents Jan. 19 through 25: Tickets Security forces issued citations for six moving violations and three nonmoving violations. Traffic-related incidents Jan 22: Security forces responded to a report of a weapon identified during a random vehicle inspection at North Gate outbound lane. The nonmilitary driver self-identified as...
 
 
sports_20140123-F-BZ180-002

Losing body fat different than dropping weight

Aaron Anderson, 56th Medical Group dietitian, enters data into the Body Composition Tracking System for the BOD POD at the Health and Wellness Center Jan. 23. The BOD POD measures body composition which is different than weight...
 
 
DT_150114-F-BI157-034

MDOS heartbeat of MDG

Staff Sgt. Miranda Pyles, 56th Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician, receives a third dose of the papilloma vaccine Jan. 14 from Senior Airman Cassandra Saunders, 56th MDOS allergy and immunization te...
 




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