FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Weed Army Community Hospital held back-to-school physicals July 22 and 29 at the main hospital, here.
During the event, children preparing for school or sports in the Fort Irwin community received physicals, eye exams, any required immunizations, and had the option to receive their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vincent Pryce, the deputy of the Managed Care Division of Weed ACH, coordinated the event based off of feedback from staff and patients from last year’s event.
“We tried to do a lot of pre-work this time around, for instance, identifying patients who need immunizations beforehand,” Pryce said.
Pryce and his team invited the Fort Irwin Dental Clinic Command to provide screenings and implemented additional screening stations for vision checks to limit bottlenecking at the different stations during the event, he said.
“When you do a lot of that planning beforehand, it makes the actual process go smoother,” Pryce said.
Jayme Mancera and her three children attended last year and again this year, and said she noticed the changes Pryce and his team implemented.
“I felt like they were more organized this time with the vision screens,” she said. “It flowed really well, and we knew exactly where to go.”
The back-to-school physicals event provided a more convenient way for Mancera to get all of her children seen by a provider at once, since getting separate appointments for all three children on the same day can be difficult, she said.
“This allows us to just come in and get everything we need done for school,” she said. “It’s a lot easier for the kids because they don’t have to wait multiple times.”
Providers seeing multiple children from the same family at once, like Mancera’s family, instead of creating separate appointments for each child, benefits the Fort Irwin Community, according to Pryce.
“In doing this, we make more appointments available in the future because if we didn’t do the [back-to-school physicals event], each and every one of these patients would have to make an appointment to come and bring their children through," he said.
All three of Mancera's children saw the same provider, and Mancera said she appreciated the care the provider took with each of her children, to include her 8-year-old twins.
“Captain Curtis was very patient,” Mancera said. “She was very efficient and looked at each child individually.”
Feedback from patients and the staff’s willingness to work throughout the summer underlap when there are not as many providers due to duty station changes, is a sign of the team’s dedication and commitment, said Pryce.
“It’s not a job for them,” Pryce said. “You can see that connection, and this is what they want to do: patient interaction and taking care of patients.”