By G. Anthonie Riis | Fort Knox NewsJune 17, 2019
The necessary transition of the Ireland Army Community Hospital into the Ireland Army Health Clinic (IRAHC) mandates changes to the way beneficiaries receive their healthcare. Some of those changes will impact where beneficiaries will get their care and the specialty services that are available to them. Regardless, all beneficiaries will continue to have timely access to safe quality healthcare whether it is on Fort Knox or in the local managed care network.
"We're scheduled to move into the new clinic in January 2020 and we have begun preparations for a smooth and seamless transition. The facility layout and staffing model in the new clinic won't be the same as we've had here," said Col. Kevin Bass, IRAHC and Fort Knox Medical Department Activity commander. The new clinic is designed specifically for increasing the medical readiness of our active duty service member and to support installation readiness activities such as Cadet Summer Training and Mobilization Force Generation Installation Activities. From a DoD perspective, the Ireland Army Health Clinic exists to build medical readiness, and that means Soldiers walk out ready to deploy wherever they are needed," Bass said.
Retiree beneficiaries will have access to the medical care they are accustomed to from local providers in the managed care network. Bass said he believes the new system will allow retirees to have better access to the care they need in a timelier manner. There will also be an increase in the continuity of care from being able to see the same provider during each visit.
However, retirees and their dependents will still be able to use the clinic for some specialty care services in the new health clinic, said Bass. Retirees will continue to have access to pharmacy, allergy and nutrition care services. Other specialty services such as optometry, occupational therapy and audiology will be available on a space-available basis.
"Space-available appointments for retirees and their family members will be limited or non-existent while we support Cadet Summer Training and prepare to move into the new health clinic," said Bass. "We expect the number of space available appointments will return to normal in early February 2020 after our transition is complete.
"Retirees will continue to have access to some ancillary services on a space-available basis. If their primary care manager on the network or their doctor downtown writes a prescription, or the doctor wants labs done or an x-ray -- if the doctor requests it, and they're authorized access -- then we'll provide it."
Bass said IRAHC remains committed to improving readiness and ensuring all of beneficiaries receive the care they deserve.
"We will continue to be a partner in their healthcare experience regardless of whether they are seen in our facility or within the local network," said Bass.