FORT POLK, La. -- Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital's appointment line is buzzing with parents who are calling and requesting appointments with the drive-thru flu clinic.

The 'by appointment only' drive-thru clinic, modeled after a concept developed at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., operates Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to noon, and offers convenience, speed and comfort to sick patients and their Families.

"It's fast," said Sheree Maple, who brought in her son, Shereef. "You get in and out. There's no long waits and I don't even have to get my son dressed. He's in his pajamas."

The drive thru clinic site is located on the second level handicapped parking area, adjacent to the Emergency Room/Outpatient Clinic entrance, and is one of two locations that BJACH is operating in its efforts to care for BJACH's TRICARE enrollees who suffer from the flu.
Patients can make appointments to the flu clinic by calling 531-3011, Option 1, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

On the weekends, the flu clinic operates in the Family Medicine Clinic and is open from 9 a.m. to
3 p.m. The second floor entrance doors are open weekends from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. while the flu clinic is in operation.

Primary care appointment line medical clerks or triage nurses will assist patients with scheduling an appointment to the level of care most appropriate and direct them to the location of their care.
"The entire process in the drive thru clinic takes patients between 20 to 25 minutes from start to finish and that includes getting your medications which are brought to your vehicle by an outpatient pharmacy technician," said Pat Stephens, head nurse with the BJACH Family Medicine Clinic. "We have plenty of staff volunteering to work hard to make sure that these clinics are open and accessible to our sick beneficiaries, commented Stephens.

Ease and convenience, plus not having to take a sick child inside to be seen have been the most appealing features for most parents so far in the clinic's infancy.
"Parents are aware that they are helping to decrease the spread of germs," added Stephens, who is manning Tent 3, where patients receive educational material about preventing the spread of germs, masks if needed along with excused school absence slips.

"This drive-thru clinic makes perfect sense," said Cynthia Green, who brought in her daughter, Shelby, age 6. "I wouldn't want her sitting in a room with other people who might have the flu if she was not sick and I don't want her infecting others."

These special flu clinics are an effort to minimize the potential transmission of the flu virus from patient to patient, said Dr. (Maj.) Troy Prairie, chief of Primary Care. "Our goal is to decrease overwhelming crowds in Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Internal Medicine Clinics as well as the Emergency Room by diverting patients to the drive-thru.

"Great idea," said Taylor Leger's mother, Jennifer Leger. "This keeps sick kids out of the wellness clinics, and the convenience is unbelievable. I called at 7:15 this morning and the triage nurse called by back at 8:20 with an appointment at 8:30 a.m. Talk about speedy service, I love it."