RAPTOR clinic: ‘the one-stop shop’

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Senior Airman Mikell Robinson, 355th Healthcare Operations Squadron physical therapy technician, demonstrates a stretching technique to a co-worker at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 2, 2020. The 355th HCOS recently implemented the Rescue & Attack Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Response, or RAPTOR, clinic in response to COVID-19. Its goal is to mitigate the spread of illness, maximize Airmen value per visit and deliver immediate, high-reliable healthcare. (Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)
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Streets, schools and local businesses are filled with emptiness as stay-at-home orders are declared around the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As traffic continues to slow at most establishments, traffic at medical facilities seems endless.

Primary care managers at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., are engaging more and more patients daily, and the 355th Healthcare Operation Squadron’s human performance flight RAPTOR innovative helped relieve some of that movement.

The Rescue & Attack Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Response, or RAPTOR, clinic was established to, not only diminish traffic, but to also mitigate the spread of illness, maximize Airmen value per visit and deliver immediate, high-reliable healthcare in support of the operational dynamic wing mission.  

“We want to be smart, quick and stealthy, like raptors, in providing musculoskeletal care to acute, urgent injuries for the active duty Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Robert Lystrup, 355th HCOS sports medicine physician. “We know that COVID is everywhere and we want to minimize our radar cross section by taking care of urgent issues immediately.”

During normal operation, active duty Airmen first had to schedule an appointment with their PCM, then get a referral to be seen by an orthopaedic or physical therapy specialist. With the RAPTOR clinic, Airmen can be seen promptly and get the care needed for new acute musculoskeletal injuries. 

“They like the one-stop shop,” said Capt. Kathryn Hernandez, 355th HCOS orthopaedic surgery physician assistant. “I’ve been getting a lot of positive responses from patients on how grateful they are on being seen this fast.”

Davis-Monthan strives to lead the way in innovation and mission-readiness. The 355th Medical Group helps with that by sustaining healthy Airmen, families and communities during these uncertain times.

“[Airmen] are the ones making things happen and really pushing the mission,” Hernandez said. “Having that ready-resilient force and being able to return that human weapon system back out there to accomplish the mission without as much pain or discomfort, is why the RAPTOR clinic exists.”

For more information or to be seen by the RAPTOR clinic, active duty Airmen can go to sick-call from 7:30-8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, or call the orthopaedic clinic at 520-228-2522.

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