NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 99th Medical Group took part in an Air Force pilot unit review program April 21 to 25 to evaluate the next generation forward deployable Utilis Air Transportable Clinic for future world-wide contingencies, disasters or emergencies.
The ATC can support 300 to 500 patients requiring outpatient care in a remote area for a 30-day period without any resupplies.
The ATC is designed to provide outpatient services and initial trauma response care in remote locations without access to medical facilities. The clinic can sustain two seriously injured patients up to 12 hours until air transportation arrives and provides care for less critical patients up to 48 hours. The ATC is not designed to provide care for mass casualties.
The 99th Medical Support Squadron Medical Logistics Flight war reserve material team is the pilot unit tasked to evaluate this medical deployable Unit Type Code. This is the UTC’s first review in six years.
The 99th MDSS Medical Logistics Flight team, in conjunction with Air Combat Command Medical Logistics, are evaluating and making changes to medical equipment, as well as updating pharmaceuticals and medical supplies used in the field.
In addition to assessing the Utilis shelter, the evaluation team will review the UTC mission capability statement, tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as more than 350 logistic detail line items.
Air Force wide there are 78 ATCs that will be affected by the changes made here.
“The guidance for these changes were from medical leadership [in the field] and have been briefed to the Surgeon General of the Air Force to make the clinic more modular,” said Capt. (Dr.) Andrew Timboe, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight surgeon. “We can attach the [ATC] to an Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support Hospital, or other medical assets as needed, or use [it] as a stand-alone clinic for smaller contingencies.”
The Utilis shelter has the ability to easily connect various size standalone medical assets to become an integrated field hospital.
The ATC with all the medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplies cost more than $140,000.
“We are currently revising outpatient equipment and medical supplies so the cost could fluctuate.” Timboe said. “We are considering adding an intraosseous device and an i-STAT lab analyzer we could use in a remote setting, as well as updating the pharmacy to include some of the new aircrew approved medications. Current clinical practice guidelines for trauma response are also being reviewed with the ATC pharmacy to improve this standard of care in forward deployed locations.”
The portable Utilis tent will replace the Alaska Shelter tent that has been used by deployable medical UTCs for the last 12 years.
The new pulley-loaded tent design provides a cost-effective solution for a timely response for medical forces deployed to forward operating bases or emergencies disaster, wherever and whenever they occur.
“This tent has all the linings, electrical and ductwork built right into it, and its pulley based so it goes up very quickly and has everything readily available,” Timboe said. “The older shelter is much heavier and takes longer to piece together.”
The Utilis tent is pressurized to provide a sterile medical environment. The floor is sealed to the outer liner and has a filtration system to keep the interior safe for patients and staff. Another concern for the shelter is environmental conditions.
The unit contains a generator and heating unit.
The required equipment and accessories on the ATC are easily palletized and can fit on the 463L master pallet, which is a standardized pallet used for transporting military air cargo.
“The entire UTC and everything [a medical team] would need is on one pallet. When they take it off a transport cargo plane it can be fully operational within four hours,” said William Napiorkowski, 99th MDSS war readiness material manger. “The old tent use to take 60 to 90 minutes to set-up while this new tent deploys in about 10 minutes with the three-person UTC team. We’re hoping with the new tent it will reduce the setup time by an hour or more.”
The team believes their evaluation will make a huge impact on how the medical career field provides care for patients.
“With the technological changes implemented in this UTC, our goal is to provide injured patients the best survivability rate on the battle field,” Napiorkowski said.