Dental clinic renovations increase efficiency
January 12, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Dental Clinic Command's Brown Dental Clinic is operating in a temporary building on Andrews Avenue in front of Lyster Army Health Clinic, and will remain there until June, when the clinic will move back to a completely renovated and state-of-the-art clinic located at Bldg. 4405 on Innkeeper Street.
The mission of the Fort Rucker Dental Clinic Command is to maintain the highest possible level of dental readiness among the active duty personnel assigned to Fort Rucker and satellite installations, said Col. Edward Cathright, commander.
The clinic provides dental care to more than 5,000 active duty servicemembers in the area, a service that impacts overall health and readiness of Soldiers in training or preparing for deployment, he said.
"The result of this renovation will improve the environment of care, provide compliance with regulations [and] standards, and meet the safety requirements of current dental service standards," he said.
According to Staff Sgt. Herman Thomas, clinic noncommissioned officer in charge, the renovations to the clinic will increase efficiency and provide even greater access to care, all during a seamless transition from the old clinic, to the temporary location and back to the permanent location.
"Our building was over 30 years old and it needed to be updated and renovated. They're completely gutting the building, adding new rooms, new heating and air conditioning systems and new equipment. Everything except the outer walls will be changed," said Thomas.
Thomas explained that along with new facilities, the dental clinic will add many new technologies that will make the clinic even more advanced and efficient.
"[The clinic] is going to be much more state of the art. We're going to have more X-ray capability, state-of-the-art sterilizers and some rooms will even have televisions in the ceiling. It's a green project, so the clinic will also be more energy efficient. The capacity for sterilization will be greater than before, which will make us even more efficient," said Thomas.
In addition to advanced equipment, the new clinic will add more seats for patients, going from an 18-chair clinic to a 22-chair clinic. Combined with more X-ray machines and a better layout, Thomas said that patient flow will noticeably increase in the new clinic.
Thomas also emphasized that patients at the clinic will not see any decrease in the quality of care while the dental clinic is in its temporary location.
"Our goal is to provide excellent customer service. We'd also like to make sure that every patient turns in their records and has their exam so that we can reach the Department of Defense goal of 95 percent readiness," said Linda Wimes, health system specialist at the clinic.
Wimes also stated that the dental clinic had a 98 percent satisfaction rating in the DOD dental patient satisfaction survey, a number that she hopes will continue to improve by encouraging "Soldiers to speak up and ask questions" about the dental care that they are being provided.
The Fort Rucker Dental Clinic Command and Brown Dental Clinic are located in Bldg. T-4405 and is open Mondays- Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more information, call 255-3393 or 255-2367.