Civilians still waiting for doctors
May 17, 2008
SEOUL — Civilian employees still may be unable to get appointments at the 121st Combat Support Hospital, five months after the hospital began using a six-tiered system to determine priority for seeing patients during a staffing shortage, according to a news release from Army medical officials.
Civilians in the bottom tier are able to get 6 percent of the hospital’s appointments on a space-available basis and still cannot make allergy appointments, the release said.
Col. Gregory Jolissaint, commander of the 18th Medical Command, said in an interview on April 29 that all but new civilian patients were able to get appointments. The appointment backlog had eased after the hospital hired two new doctors and shuffled its current staff to high-demand areas, he said.
Patients who can’t get appointments are being sent to South Korean hospitals.
The backlog won’t increase during the summer, though there still will be waits for appointments at the dermatology; behavioral health; and ear, nose and throat clinics, according to the release issued Wednesday. Patients no longer must wait for appointments at the gynecology, obstetrics, neurology and podiatry clinics, the release said.
Jolissaint said last month that the hospital had hired 36 new staff members who were expected to begin working around June. He also said he had requested permission to hire another 40 employees. An 18th MEDCOM spokesman was unable to say Thursday if those slots had been approved, or when the 36 new employees would begin working.
18th MEDCOM tiered system
The 18th Medical Command is using the following tiered system to determine who gets priority for medical appointments:
Tricare Prime active-duty servicemembersTricare Prime active-duty family membersTricare Plus noncommand sponsored active-duty family members, and retirees who were grandfathered into the programTricare Standard active-duty family membersOther retirees and their family members who don’t have Tricare PlusAll other beneficiaries, including Department of Defense civilians, nonappropriated-fund civilians and Department of Defense Dependents Schools employees— Courtesy of the 18th MEDCOM