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Fort McCoy occupational health clinic available for on-the-job injuries

Medical Site Director Tracy Saboy (right) examines Nurse Assistant Jesse Kollasch-Roberts on Nov. 2 at the Fort McCoy Army Health Clinic. The Fort McCoy Army Health Clinic offers on-post services for both government civilian employees and military members, as long as it’s connected to their jobs.

Story by Aimee Malone

Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

The Fort McCoy Army Health Clinic offers on-post services for both government civilian employees and military members, as long as it’s connected to their jobs.

Workers who are injured on the job have two choices, said Medical Site Director Tracy Saboy. They can go to their own medical providers and file a claim for reimbursement, or they can visit the health clinic, be treated on site for many injuries, and go back to work.

Saboy said the time savings is one major consideration. He can usually send people back to work in about 30 minutes, which is only a little longer than it takes to get to the nearest off-post medical clinics in Tomah and Sparta.

“I’m urgent-care clinic on post for urgent problems,” Saboy said. “They don’t have to come here, but … I can normally see them faster.”

The clinic should be used for the same sorts of injuries a person would go to their regular doctor for, Saboy said: cuts, bruises, sprains, etc. The clinic can also treat allergic reactions or similar illnesses encountered on the job.

“If it’s something you’d go to your doctor for, you can call and ask us,” Saboy said.

However, people should call 911 or go to an emergency room for emergency situations, as the clinic doesn’t have the equipment to handle them.

“If you have chest pain, of course, call 911,” Saboy said. “If you cut (something) off, it’s beyond my skills to put it back on.”

He said the clinic can also help interpret doctor’s orders if needed. Some physicians may not consider or have a good grasp on military or civilian job requirements, and at other times, a supervisor may simply need help deciphering it, Saboy said.

“Sometimes a boss will look at (a doctor’s note) and say, ‘You can’t work.’ Well, I can look at it and say, ‘You can work if your boss will let you do this and this,’” he said. “I can translate the ‘doctorese’ and put it into human language.”

Making sure an injured employee is still working and doing only the right type of work helps protect both the employer and the employee, he said.
The clinic also provides yearly physicals for employees in hazardous jobs, such as those that can damage hearing or sight. Saboy said the physicals help workers identify and treat such problems before they become too serious.

“Obviously the military does not want our employees injured if it’s preventable,” he said. “If you’re in a high-noise-volume workplace, wouldn’t you like to retire being able to hear things? My job is to make sure that 20 years from now, you do.”

He said it’s important to note that the health clinic is not a primary care provider and shouldn’t be relied on as such.

“I’m not in lieu of the civilian provider. I’m in adjunct to them,” he said. While people can consult him about off-the-job injuries or illnesses, it should be related to how it affects their jobs. For example, he said, he’s helped Child and Youth Services workers by determining whether an illness or rash in contagious or if it’s safe to remain around children. The same goes for pregnancy-related issues, he said; he can advise on work limitations, women should talk to their primary care providers about any other questions.

Civilian employees with these sorts of questions can come to sick call from 7 to 8 a.m. along with Soldiers and military members. Later hours are reserved for urgent issues. Appointments are required; call ahead to make sure someone is available. Call 911 for any emergency.

The Health Clinic also provides flu shots (when available) to Soldiers and civilian employees. Blood-pressure screenings are also available to certain jobs. Services are available to military members and civilian (wage grade, general schedule, and nonappropriated fund) employees. The Health Clinic is not available to Family members or contract employees.

For information about Occupational Health and the Fort McCoy Army Health Clinic, call 608-388-3025.

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