Medical group hosts local health care providers

Cannon Connections photo: Argen Duncan Roosevelt General Hospital Chief of Staff Les Donaldson, left, listens as Tech Sgt. Aramis Cedeno talks about medical education and training during the Cannon Air Force Base open house April 10.

By Argen Duncan: Cannon Connections

With the goals of better relationships and better care, civilian health care providers met the Cannon Air Force Base medical group up close April 10.

The medical group invited their civilian colleagues to meet face to face instead of the usual phone conversations, to learn about the military side of health care and to hear a “thank you.” The event included informational tables, a briefing about Air Force health care and a visit to a C-130 aircraft.

“They come out; they get a feel for what we do; it helps them get a feel for what we’re asking for,” said Col. Ken Hall, commander of the medical group. “Largely it’s just to say thank you.”

Chief nurse and medical operations squadron commander Lt. Col. Jim Reineke said the Cannon medical staff tries to provide all their patients’ care on base, but can’t always due to deployments or just not offering the services.

Hall said the base offers primary care, and when someone needs specialty or sub-specialty care, they’re referred to doctors in Portales, Clovis and other cities.

“Our medical mission is to ready our force, safeguard our families and keep the promise to our retirees,” Hall said. “We can’t do that without our local network providers.”

TRICARE insurance flight commander Lt. Octavia Jones oversees referrals and said it requires a lot of coordination between “downtown” and base doctors. She wants the open house to help civilian doctors better understand the base’s need for quick results and appointments at times.

“I hope they’re able to accommodate it if they understand it,” she said.

Medical group Community Relations Officer Roberta Williams said the event RSVP count doubled from last year, the first open house.

Dr. Albert Kwan said the open house let civilians understand the Air Force’s mission. As a former Air Force general surgeon and flight surgeon, it refreshed his memory of the mission and taught him new Air Force doctrines, he said.

Also, Kwan said the event let health care providers meet face to face and improve communication.

“That will enhance patient care,” he said.

Tammy Phillips, who works in emergency preparedness and safety and risk management at Roosevelt General Hospital in Portales, appreciated being able to learn about Cannon’s medical capabilities and “put names and faces together.”

“It’s just nice for us to get to know each other to work together better as a team,” she said.