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.


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo-150612-F-EC705-058

Emerald Knights go out with bang

Emerald Knights watch a burning piano during the 308th Fighter Squadron inactivation party June 12 at Luke Air Force Base. The 308th FS and aircraft maintenance unit have packed up and are transitioning to the 314th FS standing...
 
 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 

 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

607th ACS change of command Lt. Col. Charles Jones will relinquish command of the 607th Air Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Jerald Canny in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 999.   CMS change of command Maj. Scott Hall will relinquish command of the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron to Maj. Anthony Sutton in...
 
 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
5_Courtesy-photo

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

Courtesy photo Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead, and the first drops of...
 




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>