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by Steve Pivnick, 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. — Keesler Medical Center was recognized with 14 individual and team honors as Air Education and Training Command announced command-level winners of the Air Force Medical Service annual awards Dec. 1.
The awards cover the period Oct. 1, 2013-Sept. 30, 2014.
Command winners will compete for AFMS honors.
The medical center earned the AETC’s Air Force Surgeon General’s Award for Best Hospital. The facility was cited as an AFMS “Center of Excellence” and was one of three AFMS hospitals named a “top performer” by the Joint Commission. Operating room use increased 42 percent, currencies 66 percent and ear, nose and throat 54 percent, while inpatient private-sector care was slashed by 30 percent. The medical center absorbed 100 percent of Veterans Affairs vascular cases for three months, the highest general surgery business performance plan execution in the AFMS.
Keesler’s initiatives included a Defense Department/Department of Veterans Affairs imaging Joint Incentive Fund Enterprise, and selection by the Air Force Surgeon General as the first and only aeromedical enterprise innovation site, and DOD’s first Armed Forces Retirement Home Primary Care Medical Home. The emergency department had the lowest left-without-being-seen rate in DOD, a patient wait time of less than 11 minutes, and was No. 1 in six of seven Air Force measures by the Defense Health Agency.
KMC demonstrated critical care air transport team prowess through two area-of-responsibility missions and four joint exercises. The medical center also boasts the No. 1 DOD cardiac catheterization lab and the only facility approved for atherectomy, one of 25 cath labs in the U.S. with the capability.
Individual annual award winners are:
Aerospace medicine Airman — Senior Airman Demi Love, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace medicine technician
She was the lead Airman for the Air Force Surgeon General’s Base Operational Medicine Cell pilot project, the first Air Force Warrior Innovation Network test site and Airman point-of-contact for the surgeon general’s Aeromedical Evacuation 2020 initiative. Love provided medical capabilities training to five wings and 426 flyers with 65,000 event-free sorties leading to AETC’s Team Aerospace award. As lead medic for the field response team, Love ran two major accident response exercises, triaging and stabilizing 49 simulated casualties.
Cardiopulmonary laboratory Airman — Senior Airman Jason Boyd, 81st Medical Operations Squadron cardiopulmonary technician
As a key member of the DOD’s busiest cath lab, he trained two other technicians, aided 337 invasive patient procedures and recognized a lethal heart arrhythmia, initiating advanced cardiac life support protocol and expediting life-saving intervention. He treated 67 vascular ischemic patients and scrubbed in for 107 pacemaker procedures, monitoring for arrhythmias. He also assisted a physician with two emergency intubations, preparing equipment and initiating mechanical ventilation.
Enlisted health services management Airman — Airman 1st Class Deborah Fair, 81st Medical Support Squadron
Fair, an outpatient records technician, served as health artifact and image management solution group trainer, guiding 10 clinics and training 45 personnel. She cut medical documents by 1,600. She fortified the service treatment record program, resulting in 426 submissions with 100 percent compliance, No. 5 among 76 medical treatment facilities. She verified patient eligibility for 9,300 registrations to ensure 100 percent accuracy of patient demographics. She processed the enrollment of 1,000 students and revamped the health benefits center waiting area.
Medical laboratory Airman — Senior Airman Cory Gage, 81st Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron
He instructed 37 Air Force Reserve Command Phase II students in 98 tasks over 295 hours and was named best preceptor three times. While deployed, Gage tested 16,000 labs and prepared 869 transfusion units, beating the Air Force standard by 52 percent and obtaining results in 25 minutes. He supported nine forward operating bases with 105 traumas, certified 110,000 tests and issued 1,100 blood products worth $555,000. He submitted 100 drug-resistant cultures, bolstering combat-casualty research. He reported and conducted 30 hygiene surveys, trained 116 personnel and led two inspections with no findings and 100 percent compliance.
Medical materiel Airman — Staff Sgt. Jeremy Barnes, 81st MDSS
He was credited with receiving 31 equipment assets worth $1 million; supporting premier care for 229,000 annual patient visits; tracking 229 equipment packages worth $12 million; and managing 106 equipment accounts consisting of 7,000 items worth $81 million. Barnes scripted three quarterly equipment review authorization activity boards for 120 requirements worth $5.5 million. He facilitated a $225,000 bed-racking system for a 50-bed hospital expansion and piloted end-of-the-fiscal-year close-out operations, executing 131 equipment purchases worth $6 million.
Aerospace medicine noncommissioned officer — Tech. Sgt. Patricia Boydston, 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron
Boydston, critical care flight chief, led the critical care technician course pilot program, identifying 89 core tasks, developing training in 30 skills through 36 computer-based training courses and standardized special experience identifiers for 11 Air Force military training facilities. She led the 40-member staff during 1,300 admits over 730 shifts. As an 81st Training Wing inspector, Boydston evaluated six exercises involving 71 triage and clinical team members. As group telemetry lead, she oversaw 20 members caring for 1,800 patients and monitoring 700 critical rhythms. She also identified and cut $2.7 million in outsourcing fees.
Biomedical equipment repair NCO — Tech. Sgt. Ramon Memita, 81st MDSS
He led 14 Airmen who responded to 9,000 job requests with a 99.6 percent completion rate, 26 percent over their peer average. Directing the 81st TRW’s $348,000 public-access defibrillator program, he implemented a new Air Force instruction and certified 116 units to protect 12,000 members. He was team leader during staff assistance visits to 14 active-duty Air National Guard and AFRC clinics, performing maintenance on 215 equipment items and certifying emergency management readiness and flight missions for four states. He is the subject matter expert for $2 million worth of diagnostic equipment, saving $35,000 in contracts annually.
Physical medicine NCO — Staff Sgt. Coe Rangel, 81st Surgical Operations Squadron
As interim flight chief, he managed 27 physical therapy, occupational therapy and chiropractic clinic personnel. He briefed the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force on physical medicine operations and the medical group’s injury-prevention program for battlefield Airmen. He rehabbed 200 warfighters and contributed to care for 2,100 patients with $16,000 in health-care vested to the medical group. While deployed, he served as command and control officer for 90 convoy missions, logging 11,700 kilometers in off-base travel while protecting 3,200 lives and trained 14 aerial defender team leaders to secure $2 billion in military assets.
Biomedical clinician Category II officer — Capt. (Dr.) Megan Kortum, an 81st AMDS optometrist
Her prompt action during a clinic “code blue” was cited for saving the patient’s life. In another instance, she discovered an undiagnosed brain aneurysm, saving the patient’s life. As interim adjunct Southern College of Optometry proctor, Kortum administered intern clinic education and competency, decreasing leakage by 10 percent and saving the Air Force $67,000. She also executed 150 LASER eye exams and allowed 2,300 gas mask insert and ballistic insert orders with a 99.6 percent equipment-readiness for mission-ready deployers rate.
Biomedical clinician Category II field grade officer — Maj. (Dr.) Luanne Danes,81st AMDS optometry flight commander
She created 50 new appointments per month, slashing costly network referrals. Her clinic overhaul reduced documentation time five percent and increased access by 25 percent, saving 1,300 man-hours per year. As an Air Force surgeon general pilot program subject matter expert, Danes accomplished 192 flight physical ophthalmic BOMC exams, setting a new AFMS standard. She conducted 67 laser eye exams resulting in uninterrupted training for U.S. Navy special operations personnel from Stennis Space Center. As a DOD ballistic eyewear expert, she provided short-notice fittings and assured eye health and safety for 695 warriors.
Biomedical specialist Category II company grade officer – Capt. Heidi McMinn, 81st MDTS blood services chief
Among her achievements, McMinn directed one of three Air Force donor centers, leading 15 members on 92 blood drives that collected 5,000 units. Streamlined inventory practices saved $150,000. McMinn sought an Armed Services Blood Program policy change aligning 23 DOD practices with national standards and safeguarding $1 million worth of products. She organized a VA hospital partnership providing 615 blood units and irradiating 56 critical products, saving $153,000. Under her leadership, the center answered a DOD critical need in 24 hours, shipping 50 low-inventory products overseas and filling 100 percent of requests.
Dental educator — Maj. (Dr.) Nicholas Duvall, 81st Dental Squadron residency deputy director
He revamped the training curriculum from a one-year training program to an advanced two-year program. Duvall was the primary instructor and course director for three master’s-level courses, providing more than 80 hours of lectures and more than 240 hours of clinical supervision. He was credited with developing a unique supply program for the residency, resulting in more than $15,000 in savings and ensuring availability of state-of-the-art materials. He also evaluated, assigned and coordinated 40 multidisciplinary cases to facilitate board certification of program graduates.
Medical service civilian — Linda Davis, 81st MDSS TRICARE liaison officer
She directed the health benefit center, coordinating with the contractor and DOD to assist 7,700 customers. Leading the TRICARE service center closure, Davis alerted 66,000 beneficiaries and saved the DOD $50 million in contract costs. She dual-registered 1,000 VA patients, facilitating 1,800 visits with 400 admitted. She mastered Humana’s TRICARE information portal and instructed two personnel, enabling medical information to be available to 26,000 beneficiaries. She also coordinated 78 regional TRICARE briefings for 8,500 people. She also briefed Secretarial Designee benefits allowing 132 Armed Forces Retirement Home residents to be eligible for care.