KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The Kirtland Air Force Base 377th Medical Group held a ribbon cutting ceremony Feb. 12, 2020, to celebrate their newest capability, a radiology clinic, that will enable a quicker turnaround time for specific mission readiness requirements and ensuring Airmen are fit for duty.
"If we have to send them over to the VA, the amount of time that it takes to get it back is probably around a week,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Lester, 377th MDG diagnostic imaging technologist. “Whereas, if we do it in-house, we get it back in 20 minutes."
Another benefit of the radiology clinic will be the ability to have immediate access to records when Airmen receive a permanent change of station or assignment.
"The VA has a different information system that doesn’t communicate with our information system,” said Lt. Col. Keye Latimer, 377th MDG Diagnostics and Therapeutics flight commander. “So a provider would have to log into the VA system, which wasn’t always available, to see those results. It was a big push, every time someone PCS’d, to make sure that we had those results, get a copy of it or somehow transferred and put into their military medical records.”
Latimer says that challenge doesn’t exist anymore, so it’s a huge patient safety win.
According to Col. Gregory Coleman, 377th MDG commander, having this clinic doesn’t take away from the MDG’s current relationship with the VA. The unit will continue to work with the VA for other specialty care needs, but this will allow the MDG to have more capacity to meet their needs.
“It’s not only a great day for the med group and the expansion of our mission, but also a great day for the wing,” says Coleman.