Working at IACH has become Family affair for many employees
August 27, 2010
By Nikia Simon
The medical home team concept is a Family-oriented model Irwin Army Community Hospital follows. Some IACH employees also bring their work home, literally.
Working at IACH became a Family affair for the Henkemeyers beginning with Spc. Marcy Henkemeyer, IACH environmental health technician, who joined the IACH team more than two years ago.
A military brat, Marcy said she was raised in an environment where Family bonds were very important.
Elizabeth Henkemeyer, emergency department nurse practitioner, and Marco Henkemeyer, clinical operations nurse, secured employment at IACH one year later.
"The main goal of our move was to be close to Family in the Midwest," Marco said. The couple's daughter also working at IACH "was just icing on the cake."
The Henkemeyers said they didn't get to see their Families much because of Marco's 23-year Army career.
"In a marriage, one (career) usually suffers because of the other (person's) job," Marco said.
The most profitable bread winner's job location governs where the Family lives, he said.
Due to frequent moves, Elizabeth often found herself looking for new employment and having to start over, despite years of nursing experience and a master's degree.
"I saw retirement as an option to give back to my wife," Marco said. "I took the second seat to her career for a change, and followed her (to Fort Riley) for a job she wanted."
Marco took a new career path and returned to school for nursing, giving him the opportunity to work at a hospital with his wife.
"(IACH) has a Family atmosphere and (they) make it easy for couples to get employment," Marco said.
Understanding how the IACH system works in different parts of the hospital has proven beneficial for the Henkemeyers and their patients.
"Taking care of military Families is fulfilling (for us) and we share knowledge in (three) different specialties (emergency department, public health and referral management)," Elizabeth said.
Although they are not able to reap the benefits of carpooling to work together because of varying work schedules, Marcy said she is able to eat lunch with her parents whenever she wants.
"It boosts my moral to know that the people who support me the most also work at the same facility," Marcy said. "I expected to be far away from them."
Marcy said having support from her Family will make her military career easier.
But, Elizabeth and Marco plan to stay in Kansas and continue working at IACH even after their daughter is reassigned to another duty station.
"I like the people and the climate. I like coming to work," Marco said. "This hospital hasn't forgotten about patients, and (realize) it is not all about business."
Charles Lagabed, IACH radiological technologist, and Tricia Lagabed, IACH budgeting analyst, have enjoyed Family life both at home and work since 2007.
"The main reason we decided to work together was to be closer to one another and our house. We wanted to start a Family of our own. The rest kind of just unfolded," Charles said.
Before securing employment at IACH, the Lagabeds worked in different cities and had to plan visits around their work schedules.
Having their 3-year-old daughter directly across the street from the hospital at the child development center is "an added bonus," Charles said.
"It is nice to know that as parents that we both are in close proximity to our child to offer comfort if needed.," he said.
Charles said he appreciates working in a Family-oriented environment with people who share a mission of providing quality care to Soldiers and their Family members.
"We have the same outlook and look toward the same direction. Our synergy pulls us together like a well-oiled machine," Charles said.
From August 2007 to 2009, Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Velarde served as IACH's command sergeant major.
"This assignment has provided me a unique opportunity to work with civilian (employees), and I have gained such an appreciation for the important work they do," Roger said.
In support of a growing beneficiary population and an increasing demand for health care services, more than 75 percent of IACH's staff members are civilian employees.
Among those employees are Roger's wife and daughter.
Kimberly Velarde, IACH primary care administration officer joined the IACH team in May 2009, and Nicole Velarde, IACH behavioral health records clerk, began in July 2010.
The Velardes work with the Soldiers and their Family members on three different levels in three different departments of the hospital.
"We have our personal Family and we have our IACH Family. We are all working together to serve Families," Kimberly said.
"My Family receives care (at IACH) and we are working to bring Families together even more. Now that we have medical homes at IACH, the Farrelly Health Clinic, and the Combined Medical Troop Clinic, providers get to know their patients and provide continuity of care," Kimberly said.
"It brings a special bonding because we understand that we are all working for the same organization, serving the Soldier and Families," Kimberly added.
"I'm thankful to all of the Families who serve alongside the Soldiers, civilians and contract employees of (IACH), and support them in the outstanding work they do," Roger said.
Being able to work in the same facility was a deciding factor for the Mosier couple, who chose to continue nearly 40 years of combined military service together at IACH.
One of the things the Mosiers said they looked for when choosing a duty station was a hospital that provided obstetrics and gynecology services.
Col. Reynold Mosier, IACH deputy commander of health services, works at IACH where his wife, Susie Mosier, is an OB/GYN nurse.
All military installation hospitals do not offer OB/GYN services.
"My wife being able to continue her 21 years of federal service and continuing my 24-year (military) career was important. And, luckily there was an opening in her specialty area," Reynold said.
The opportunity for dual employment is an attractive incentive IACH has been able to accommodate for at least nine transient and transitioning military Families.
"The overall thing is that we both think of the military as our extended Family, and we enjoy working in the same military health care system," Reynold said.