U.S. Army Health Clinic Baumholder hosted a medical readiness rodeo for Soldiers with the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade at USAHC Baumholder, Dec. 12.
The event assembled individual medical readiness elements to expedite annual medical requirements for Soldiers with the 44th ESB-E, also known as the “Fighting 44th”.
“We’re making sure all the Soldiers in the unit are ready to deploy and have all their health protection metrics up-to-date,” said U.S. Army Maj. Stephen young, a primary care physician and chief medical officer at USAHC-Baumholder. “The purpose of medical readiness is really to give the commander an assurance of what the unit’s health status is, allowing (the commander) to know (the unit) is ready to go out the door, from a health perspective, and ready to fight.”
Medical readiness is also important to the individual Soldier, medical elements such as immunizations assure Soldiers they’re protected against a lot of common diseases, wherever they’re going, said Young. Vision, hearing and dental are also crucial, ensuring Soldiers are going to be able to operate and function as a healthy person in everyday situations, not just deployed environments.
In 2019, the Army verified its commitment to the Health of the Force after releasing Army Regulation 40-502, which defined medical readiness and complimented a DOD-wide push to standardize what being medically ready is.
In the DOD guidance, six elements are aggregated to define medical readiness of Service Members: PHA, deployment-limiting conditions, dental readiness, immunization status, medical readiness laboratory tests, and individual medical equipment (visual correction devices, hearing aids and batteries, etc.). In addition to those elements, the Army requires hearing and vision readiness.
Medical readiness is further categorized into four classifications: MRC 1-4, with one being fully deployable and four being non-deployable.
In reflecting the objective of AR 40-502, which states “Every Soldier is responsible for their medical readiness and must remain dedicated and resilient in the Army’s pursuit of readiness,” USAHC-Baumholder staff also trained Soldiers on proper use and documentation of the Army’s Medical Protection System (MEDPROS), a system used to record all medical readiness elements of Soldiers.
“The 44th (ESB-E) don't have medical (personnel), so we're also training non-medical personnel to keep up their own medical readiness,” said Young. “We’re getting them trained on the platforms we use so they can forecast their own medical deployability in the future. It's an added capability for them.”
While the process may resemble a simple physical or annual checkup for most, the data collected conveys much more than a clean bill of health.
“Not getting (medical assessments) done can impact their (health) later on,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dasha Long, noncommissioned officer in charge of USAHC-Baumholder’s Department of Family Medicine. “Their health can deteriorate over time if medical concerns aren’t brought up early. (Medical readiness) helps Soldiers maintain their health so they can show up to work 100 percent and not have to worry about impacting themselves, which then later on impacts others.”
Events like the medical readiness rodeo can support the medical readiness of hundreds of Soldiers in a short time, assuring a unit can deploy at a moment’s notice.
“While (medical readiness) seems small and insignificant, it actually has a huge ramification for deploying and for mission readiness.,” said Young. “You can be the best gunner in the world, you can be the best artillerymen but if you're not medically able to function in a deployed environment, none of it matters.”