TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
With the onset of coronavirus in March, the 72nd Medical Group clinic operations were significantly diminished in order to protect both its patients and staff, now as much as possible, operations are returning to normal. The response to the pandemic has progressed and what initially began as a pop-up tent clinic for COVID-19 patients has now evolved into three hardened structures, providing increased capabilities.
The new clinic area is now located on the south end of the Medical Group parking lot, next to the Hill Conference Center. The Respiratory Clinic will feature new signage to direct vehicles in the proper direction, to streamline the process and make treatment more patient centered.
“Once a vehicle enters, one of our teams will tend to the vehicle,” Capt. Audrick Yee, nurse practitioner said. “We’ll triage the individuals and keep them separate from the main clinic. Based off their screening results, they will be escorted to the appropriate area.”
Yee is one of nearly 40 providers in the 72nd MDG, and is part of a rotational team servicing the Respiratory Clinic. In order to offer the best and safest care, the clinic will operate Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Providers will rotate as well, Yee said, so there will be lower rates of possible exposure.
“Right now we have three hard structures allocated for the Respiratory Clinic, and we have one to two providers in each structure,” he said. “In addition to each provider, there are two individuals assigned to each provider to perform vital checks, run labs and obtain supplies.”
Thanks to the 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Directorate, the structures were installed in July and will soon be hard-wired in for communication efficiency. Currently, one is dedicated for administrative work while the others are equipped with patient care areas. Beginning in September, one of those structures will become the Pediatric Sick Clinic for children experiencing COVID-related symptoms.
When it comes to the uncertainty that many have felt during this global pandemic, Yee and the team at the 72nd MDG said that by the virtue of medical training, they are prepared to handle these kinds of situations. Improving the administrative tasks and logistics will improve the process for patients.
“We looked at the process flow, what was being done in the clinic and the labs thoroughly,” Lt. Col. David Abbott, 72nd MDG administrator, said. “We are constantly evaluating our efforts through the lens of Continuous Process Improvements and the Art of the Possible culture. What’s really powerful though, is the incredible ideas and innovation we are seeing from the most junior Airmen to senior officers.”
Although there is much unknown, the team at the 72nd MDG is poised to adapt and overcome any obstacle largely in part from the training, care and confidence they receive from their leadership.
“We’ve had a mixture of overwhelming concern and panic from patients, but what is most important to us is making them feel safe and providing the most trusted, quality care possible,” Yee said. “Our leadership has gone above and beyond to accommodate our needs. They trust our insight and opinions to focus on what is best in our area and for our population.”
While patients can self-present at the Respiratory Clinic, providers still recommend that individuals call the appointment line or reach out to Public Health prior to coming to the Respiratory Clinic. For more information, please call 405-582-6542.