OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General, believes focusing on medical readiness and innovation will drive the Air Force Medical Service forward.
During her visit to the 51st Medical Group at Osan Air Base, Sept. 24, Hogg received a firsthand look at the various capabilities of the primary care flight, dental clinic, pharmacy, flight medicine, emergency trauma bay, multi-service nursing unit, and other medical facilities.
“This last year, we had 19 process improvements which focused on patient safety, patient care, workflow, manning assist, education and training,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tyra Jones, 51st Medical Operation Squadron medical technician. “In addition to being assigned to the inpatient unit, our nurses and medics are also cross-trained to assist the emergency room and flight medicine with emergency transports and physical health assessments. Over the past year we have provided over 500 hours of on call assistance, decreasing their workload by 30 percent.”
According to the Surgeon General, each military treatment facility is a medical readiness platform, aligned with an operational wing that directly enhances the medical readiness of warfighters and their families.
The 51st MDG supports the wing mission by being the only forward-deployed MTF with both inpatient capabilities and an outpatient emergency room.
“Not only are we taking care of our beneficiaries here, we are also staying up to date with contingency plans and our readiness capabilities to support any wartime mission that may come about,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Debra Lighten, 51st MDOS medical technician.
The AFMS mission is to ensure medically fit forces provide expeditionary medics and deliver trusted care to all they serve.
“We also have unique underlying missions that many people don’t get to see,” said Lighten. “We believe in patient safety first and delivering the best care we can. We support beneficiaries who are not a part of the main base, non-command sponsored members, and civilians that come to our ER for services.”
Osan is the most forward-deployed wing on Earth, and supporting thousands of beneficiaries comes with a variety of resource challenges.
“A lot of medical personnel are currently cross trained in other specialties which allows for us to be well versed across the medical field,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lauren Eady, 51st MDOS emergency medical technician. “So, regardless of the limited resources, we are still able to make the mission happen successfully.”
Lighten believes the 51st MDG is able to overcome resource challenges because medical personnel approach every situation with a positive attitude.
“It doesn’t matter what resources are limited, I still see people approaching it with a positive attitude,” said Lighten. “Even being anxious, afraid or challenged outside of their scope of practice, people still have a willing heart to move forward.”