The Air Force’s Medical Reform model has come to Edwards and brings with it big changes, while promising to enhance care for Airmen and family members. The 412th Medical Group conducted a trio of ceremonies at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., July 12, 2019, to make the Edwards Medical Reform change official.
Under the new Air Force Medical Reform model, dedicated provider care teams will be aligned to an Operational Medical Readiness Squadron primarily focused on proactively treating active duty Airmen and improving their availability to support the warfighting mission. Care for non-active duty patients, primarily the families of service members and military retirees, will be handled by separate provider teams aligned to a Health Care Operations Squadron.
“This new structure optimizes both functions and allows us to return airmen back to full mission capability as quickly as possible without decrementing care to our beneficiaries,” said Lt. Col. Robert Corby, chief of Medical Manpower and Personnel, Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, in a previous statement. “Restructuring where care is delivered lets our providers focus on each group to improve the quality of care, create efficiencies, and most importantly, get injured or ill Airmen back into the fight more quickly.”
Under these changes the 412th Medical Support Squadron, formerly commanded by Lt. Col. Neva VanDerSchaegen, was inactivated. The MDSS Airmen were moved to the 412th Medical Operations Squadron which was then redesignated as the 412th Health Care Operations Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. Jennie Sheffield.
The other portion of the ceremony saw the 412th Aerospace Medicine Squadron change commands between the outgoing Lt. Col. Vinh Tran and incoming Lt. Col. Arthur Lawrance. Lawrence then oversaw the redesignation of the squadron to the 412th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron.
Col. Gwendolyn Foster, the 412th MDG Commander, said that the changes to the MDG structure will enhance the care for Airmen and family members, although she did acknowledge “growing pains” during the process.
“This journey is not going to be easy, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be messy; but the men and women of the 412th Medical Group will remain ‘true north,’” Foster said. “We promise you that everything that we do, our why will always be at the center, to support the warfighter and strengthen community at the Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe.”