FORT SILL, Okla.-- The second of the Army's 17 new community based medical homes had a ribbon cutting Jan. 5 in Lawton.

Frontier Medical Home, operated by Reynolds Army Community Hospital, will eventually enroll up to 8,000 family members of active-duty Soldiers. The family-practice outpatient clinic will provide 95 percent of a family's preventive care, and it will offer pharmacy and laboratory services, said a RACH official. Frontier Medical Home will open later this month.

"This (clinic) will enable us not only to improve the quality, but also the availability of services and in a great environment closer to where families live," said Col. Michael Rave, RACH commander. "This is one way the Army is trying to make right on its promise to provide the best care possible for family members."

Patient-centered medical homes

Medical homes are part of a program to improve primary care access and quality of care by putting Army medicine into the communities where Army families live, said Dr. (Brig. Gen.) Joseph Caravalho Jr., Southern Regional Medical Command commander at Joint Base San Antonio, and the speaker at the ceremony.

The community-based clinics represent a model where a team of health professionals, coordinated by a physician, work collaboratively to provide high levels of care, access and communication to families.

"At its heart, the Army community-based medical home is health care the way it should be: easily accessible, patient-centered, health care provider team based, and quality focused," Caravalho said.

The Army Medical Command recognizes the uniqueness of Army families and their frequent moves and having to navigate new health care systems, Caravalho said.

"Army medical homes are designed to deliver a common system of care that makes health care more consistent," he said.

The first medical home opened late last year in the Fort Campbell, Ky., community. The medical homes will be in Army communities throughout the continental United States and Hawaii.

Frontier Medical Home

Thirty-five Department of the Army civilians will staff the clinic, said Claude Shepperson, Frontier Medical Home group practice manager. This will include seven physicians, 15 licensed practical nurses, four registered nurses, a pharmacist, a pharmacy technician, a behavioral health provider, two labratory technicians, an information technology specialist and three administrators.

The family medical home is designed to provide services in a preventive manner -- to treat them before a patient's illness becomes too severe, and from a personalized family doctor who knows you, Rave said.

The first family members enrolled will be from Lawton's 73505 zip code, Rave said. He emphasized that Army families can continue to enroll for health care services at community medical centers; with civilian practitioners; or at RACH.

"We're not in competition with the local community, but we think we're augmenting it," Rave said. "What this clinic enables us to do is to provide expanded services by increasing the number of providers."

Frontier Medical Home is at 5404 SW Lee Blvd. next to Southwestern Medical Center. The leased building was a former surgical center, Rave said.

Shepperson and his staff are making final preparations for the clinic's opening.

"This is going to be a great clinic," he said. "It's a beautiful facility and construction has gone well."