Health clinic makeover not just physical
February 16, 2012
BAMBERG, Germany -- Renovations are under way at the Bamberg Health Clinic to improve the reception and waiting area, but this isn't the only change taking place at the clinic.
In addition to remodeling the front lobby, the restrooms and hallways, the health clinic is making internal changes to better serve its community.
Patient Centered Medical Home Model
Bamberg Health Clinic is transitioning to a patient centered medical home model, said Lt. Col. John J. Melton, U.S. Army Health Clinic Bamberg commander.
"The patient centered medical home model is to help standardize health care within the Army," Melton said. "It allows the patient to participate in their own health care and be a part of a team."
The patient will be partnered with a team of health care providers, including a primary care manager.
This team will deliver coordinated and collaborative care with the patient.
The model will allow for more consistency as one moves with the Army.
The change and implementation will be an ongoing process with a continuing improvement effort.
"Updated information in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System and enrolling in TRICARE Online is essential to this transition," Melton said. "Soldiers and their Families that don't update DEERS information put their medical benefits at risk."
TRICARE Online provides access to personal health care records 24/7 and even gives patients the ability to schedule or cancel appointments. Additionally, it provides access to secure messaging with your primary care managers and other members of the health team.
The health clinic will soon be conducting primary care intake interviews with new patients. During pre-deployment briefings, the health clinic will be familiarizing spouses about their health care and the new model.
"We are partnering with the 42nd Clearance Company Family Readiness Group to develop these intake interviews for all family members," Melton said. "These intake interviews will focus on deploying units and newly arrived Army Families."
The interview will be similar to when one opens up a new account at a bank for the first time, Melton said.
To manage expectations, a member of the clinic staff will explain the patient centered home model to the beneficiary. Clinic staff will provide periodical updates toward ones health care, establishing conditions for trust in the services provided.
The following information will be reviewed with the beneficiaries during the interview:
• Beneficiaries PCM Team
• Instructions for address and contact validation in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System
• Instructions for registering on TRICARE Online
• Patient Satisfaction Surveys
• Accessing health services and information flow chart
• Instructions on how to prepare for an appointment
• Opportunity to make wellness and preventative appointments
• Familiarizing beneficiaries with accessing host nation facilities
To help ensure quality of service during the transition, the health clinic will be conducting customer service evaluations. The evaluations will focus on the various patient interaction points during a visit.
"We are partnering with the U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg Red Cross to leverage FRG members to serve as surveyors," Melton said. "They will evaluate clinic staff interactions, capture immediate feedback from patients and inform our patients about programs such as the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line and the Army Patient Satisfaction Survey."
It is important for beneficiaries to complete Army Patient Satisfaction Surveys when they receive them in the mail as each completed survey results in more resources for the clinic.
"Patient satisfaction is not a popularity contest," Melton said. "If a patient is satisfied, they are more apt to trust our clinic staff and participate in their own health by adhering to those behaviors that improve their quality of life."
Clinic Appointment Line Updated
In March beneficiaries calling the Bamberg Health Clinic at 0951-300-1750 will hear a new menu selection.
"We eliminated inactive phone numbers and menu selections that led to nowhere leaving you waiting indefinitely," he said. "Both the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline are now prominent menu selections that are available 24-hours toll-free when you call the clinic during and after operational hours."
The TRICARE Nurse Advice Line provides access to medical information and advice at anytime by connecting to a registered nurse. The nurse can answer questions, provide self-care advice and help one decide if they need to seek immediate care.
"It is that reassuring advice from a licensed health care professional that alleviates that anxiety in the middle of the night," Melton said.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides confidential access to a trained counselor to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
"Looking out for friends and loved ones is an important part of preventing suicide," Melton said. "You can call and speak with a crisis worker on behalf of someone you are concerned about."
Throughout all these internal changes, the health clinic team will deal with issues as they arise with patients.
However, the effort is to manage patient expectations, enhance patient health care experience, encourage patient ownership of the system of health and promote patient participation in their own health care, Melton said.
"Together and in partnership with unit commanders, senior enlisted advisors and FRGs, the Bamberg Health Clinic will continue to create opportunities that enable the resiliency of our community, enhance the operational readiness of our units and assure the tenets of the Army Family Covenant," he said.
Renovations are scheduled to be complete by the end of March.