Hospital Opens One-Stop Center for New Families
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Uprooting your family and moving to a new military installation is stressful. But enrolling in the health plan your family deserves once you reach Fort Riley isn't one of them.

The team at Irwin Army Community Hospital designed a one-stop solution to help Soldiers and families navigate the medical system.

The 1st Encounter Clinic opened in July at the peak of the military family moving season. The clinic follows a model of customer service typically experienced with top business companies.

"Families don't have the time to figure out how to access healthcare," said Col. John Melton, IACH commander. "Too often they are getting lost in the complexity. They have a lot of questions when they arrive and they want to speak with someone in person who can help. We are responding to that."

As a result of a new emphasis on the patient experience, Melton led the IACH team to create the 1st Encounter Clinic. Counselors with the 1st Encounter personally assist families with hospital enrollment, assignment to a primary care manager for each member, prescription refills, medical screening, Child Development Center health forms and specialty care referrals. Families also get a biographical sketch of their new PCM and a tour of the hospital.

"We are delivering a concierge service to our hospital enrollees," Melton said. "It's how we make Fort Riley the best place to live, train, deploy from and come home to. We invite the community to take ownership of their hospital and help spread the word about this new service."

Soldiers and families planning to move to Fort Riley can schedule an appointment before arriving. To schedule an appointment, call 785-239-3627. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is on the 1st floor of the hospital across from the pharmacy.