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Air Force medical leaders gather to discuss future healthcare improvements

LEESBURG, Va. (AFNS) -- The Air Force Medical Service gathered more than 300 senior healthcare leaders at The National Conference Center Oct. 19 to kick off its annual week-long workshop to discuss the continued transformation of military healthcare and find ways to improve the overall patient experience.

Senior leaders will focus on the workshop's theme of "Just Say Yes: Access, Innovation and Service," to identify and fix system bottlenecks, look for ways to improve military healthcare and discuss how to better attract and retain patients.

"We are looking for the best ways to train folks and create the right team to get to the next level of proactive care," said Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Charles B. Green, the Air Force Surgeon General. "Why wait when we are focused on health for a patient to call us? We must establish trust and reach out to them."

The workshop format has plenary and interactive sessions that will specifically focus on specialty hospitals. Medical personnel from seven Air Force specialty hospitals were invited to share their experiences. The stateside specialty included hospitals at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Travis AFB, Calif.; Nellis AFB, Fla.; Eglin AFB, Fla.; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Langley AFB, Va.; and Keesler AFB, Miss.

The sessions were designed to encourage the sharing of innovative ideas and to create immediate action when discovering ways to better the system.

"We don't need to change course," Green said. "We need to refine what we are doing and make certain people understand our overarching goal which is trying to produce better health, better care and best value."

One message the AFMS would like to share with its Airmen and beneficiaries is that the downsizing of medical treatment facilities during the past couple of years is done, said to Chief Master Sergeant Charlie Cole, the chief of the medical enlisted force.

The Air Force has actually been investing significant money into recapturing care by building new facilities, buying necessary contracts for the facilities and adding more than 600 authorizations for specialist providers and support staff in our treatment facilities, Cole said.

"Ultimately we want the patient to actively seek better health," Green said. "We want balance in the enrolled population; we want to make certain they have your trust and know you're looking out for them. In addition, we need to bring the population that is not enrolled and not getting routine preventive care into the system and ultimately get them enrolled."

For more information, please visit the AFMS Web site at www.sg.af.mil and the AFMS Facebook at www.facebook.com/airforcemedicalservice.com.
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