Training session
Capt. Alysia Franco, medical support operations officer, Staff Sgt. Uriah Low, senior medic, and Staff Sgt. Oscar Ortega, combat medic, all from Fort Carson, Colorado, discuss study new medical readiness material during a two-week course at Fort Hood... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas -- A class of 73 medical professionals from different installations participated in a medical readiness transformation training course at the education center here from Feb. 29-March 11.

The two-week course supports a change coming this summer, when the personal readiness and medical deployability plan will commence, changing the shape of the force moving forward, and in keeping with Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley's No. 1 priority -- readiness.

The training was conducted by a mobile medical team consisting of four senior leaders in the military medical field, and supported the shift in personal readiness and deployability that will occur June 1.

"We are actually training the trainers who will go out and train the force on the new policies and procedures that are going to support these changes in the medical readiness," said Sgt. 1st Class Candace Hartwick, Wisconsin National Guard.

Putting control in the hands of the command instead of higher echelons was important to ensure a unit's readiness is being assessed properly.

"It is the company commanders and the command teams, their first sergeants, platoon sergeants, squad leaders, who actually have eyes on that Solider so they do have the best idea of what that Soldier's health is," Hartwick explained.

One change is the new commander's portal for the Medical Protection System. It will allow commanders to view all essential medical information in one convenient location to quickly assess the medical readiness of Soldiers.

"The changes are actually to make things a little bit easier for company commanders to be able to manage their medical readiness," Hartwick said.

Soldiers will also now be classified as deployable or non-deployable instead of an available status in the unit status report to help improve tracking.

There are a lot of sweeping changes going into the transformative process, said Lt. Col. Christopher Moon, medical director, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, who attended the conference.

Another critical change will not only be the ease in which leaders are able to keep track of Soldier's medical limitation profiles, but the profiles themselves will be changing. Most notably, there will be no more automatic recovery time after a mandated period of physical limitation ends.

This is the second two-weeklong class here, with the original class of 67 beginning on Feb. 16, but the teams have been in class for longer than that.

"We actually started Jan. 10," Hartwick said. "We had about five weeks of training to be able to come out here and train the trainers. Our end goal is to have the force trained by June 1st because that is when all these changes are going to go into effect."

Other mobile teams are spread out over approximately 10 sites, which included Fort Hood, emphasizing the importance of getting Soldiers in the regular and reserve components, and also the National Guard, prepared for the upcoming transformation.

After finishing the first cycle, the instructors are in stride with everything moving like a well-oiled machine.

"We got good feedback from that first class to be able to make this second class a lot easier to validate the personnel to make sure they can present these materials in a very effective and efficient manner," Hartwick said.

As the students learn from the instructors and take turns briefing one another to ensure they can do it once they return to their commands, those in the class are receiving a lot from the training.

"This is very important training that is coming out," said 1st Lt. Olivia Klinkhardt, a physician assistant with 2nd Chemical Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade. "I think that it is going to be a great tool for commanders."

Readiness will always be a number one priority, and the U.S. Army Medical Department will continue making improvements to promote that.

"This medical transformation on readiness," Moon said, "is one of the most significant, transformative processes that has occurred within the AMEDD within the last decade."

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