Military clinics at 1st Armored Division communities throughout Germany are adding personnel to guarantee soldiers, civilians and their families receive the care they need as 1st AD soldiers return to Germany.
In addition to the increased number of soldiers, clinics are dealing with the regular summer routine of troops and their families rotating in and out of Europe, as well as vacationing staff.
In Baumholder, more than 5,000 1st AD soldiers have returned from the Middle East in July — about 95 percent of its total troops that were sent downrange.
To help ease the burden on health care providers, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is sending four medical providers, eight to 10 medics and six other medical personnel to serve in 1st AD clinics each day to assist in the medical phase of reintegration.
The result, according to Lt. Col. Francis Bannister, Baumholder clinic commander, is better service to the community.
“We had better access in June than we had in June of last year,” Bannister said.
In June 2003, an average of 49.6 appointments were available per day and 50 percent were still available after 10 a.m., he said. This June, an average of 60 same-day appointments were available with 50 percent of those were available after 10 a.m.
“And July is on about the same track,” Bannister added. “We’ve become more efficient. It’s because of Landstuhl.”
Dr. (Lt. Col.) Richard Jordan, deputy for outlying clinics at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and an internal medicine specialist, said the same idea was implemented in Vicenza, Italy, when the 173rd Airborne redeployed in February.
“Most of the time, we’re sending up to five to 10 people [to clinics], depending on the day and how many people are reintegrating at the time,” Jordan said.
The 1st Armored Division, like many combat arms units, has battalion aid stations manned by medics, who are working their units’ reintegration in addition to their regular duties of operating sick call and providing referrals.
Dr. (Col.) John Torrent, deputy commander for clinical services at Landstuhl and a family practice physician, encourages soldiers to fully update medical staff of their health during reintegration.
“It’s not difficult for [the specialty clinics] to make some additional room for redeploying soldiers,” he said. “We want to identify problems, take care of them and still let them go on their 30 days of leave or … identify problems that can wait, but ensure that they come back in a month.”
Landstuhl’s 41 specialty clinics, which include orthopedics, ophthalmology, physical therapy, behavioral health and family practice, are currently able to book appointments 90 days out, he said.
In Hanau, reservists are rotating in about every three months to supplement the clinic staff, said Lt. Col. Carolyn Tiffany, Hanau clinic commander.
In addition, clinics in the Heidelberg area have hired stateside contractors to provide care, said Col. David Krieger, commander of Heidelberg Army Medical Department Activity.
“Traditionally over the summer months, we have a lot of people coming and going, to include our own staff,” he said. “... We knew that we were going to be short and ... have already contracted for some additional providers to help us bridge the gap.”