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.


 
 

 
140805-F-LW839-135cropped

Ramping up …

An F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter prepares to land Aug. 5 at Luke Air Force Base. This is the fifth F-35 aircraft currently assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron with more on the way before the end of the year.
 
 

Contract signed to improve base for years to come

Being the largest fighter wing in the Air Force has its costs. Everything from school quality, the local economy, crime rates, traffic and climate, to on-base amenities, such as commissaries, are assessed to determine the best Air Force bases in the US. In order to keep the living standards high for all Airmen at Luke...
 
 

Knocking it out of park means excellence

Over the past several years the Defense Department has seen an unprecedented reduction in force. Twenty years ago when I was a young Airman learning the Air Force ropes, our active-duty force was more than 421,000 strong. Today, our end strength stands at just over 323,000 Airmen, a reduction of roughly 100,000 personnel. Because of...
 

 

Gut check: Where do you stand?

Since the beginning of our Air Force careers, the majority of us have been taught that in order to lead, we need to lead by example and lead from the front. Today, that has not changed. However, as we all know, it is virtually impossible for all to be in front at the same time,...
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Nursing fellows take on trauma training

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Chief Master Sgt. John Mazza, 56th Fighter Wing command chief, and Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th FW commander, congratulate the 56th Medical Group nurses who graduated from the Critical Care and Eme...
 
 

News Briefs August 15, 2014

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will conduct an active-shooter exercise today. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruptions of customer service operations. Expect to see simulated explosions, smoke, role players depicting indiv...
 




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