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.


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 

Gillespie Loop: Honors Airman who made ultimate sacrifice

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a road dedication ceremony to honor Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie, a fallen Airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie was a career fuels specialist who died July 9, 2007, from wounds sustained during small...
 
 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 

 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

Total body conditioning class A new total body conditioning class is 6:30 and 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. The 6:30 a.m. class is broken into two half hour segments to accommodate squadron or individual physical training. The 9 a.m. class is one hour. The class consists of body weight movements and the use of equipment...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>