Health Clinic expands services to better care for community
By Ana Henderson
The Yuma Proving Ground Health Clinic has recently made numerous improvements that are going to make treating the community much more efficient. The largest investment is the new, much more capable x-ray machine, according to Maj. Joshua Chase, the YPG Health Clinic officer in charge (OIC). “It was a culmination of more than two years of effort to upgrade our 12-year-old machine to our fully digital machine,” he explained. Clinic personnel can now perform x-rays to detect sprains or broken bones, and chest x-rays to assess, diagnose, or rule out illnesses. The x-ray machine comes in handy for occupational health assessments and allows the clinic better ability to assess and treat foot and back injuries, such as those that can occur to students of the Military Free Fall School, without having to refer to off-post radiology services. Clinic administrators are working on getting accessories for the machine that will increase capabilities. The digital machine can interface with MHS GENESIS, the new electronic medical record system, and the images can be accessed at other Department of Defense (DoD) medical centers. Adding to the expanded diagnostic tools, health clinic personnel now have two new machines to provide on-site laboratory results. In the past, specimen samples were sent to a laboratory in Yuma resulting in a waiting period of several days for the results. “There are certain tests that by the time we get the results they are no longer useful,” said Chase, citing the flu as an example. “By the time you get the flu results, it’s either recovered or too late to take Tamiflu.” The swab rapid tests eliminate that issue and provide solid data for diagnosis and treatments of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, flu and strep throat. “It allows us to distinguish between conditions that have very similar symptoms,” said Chase. In addition, the clinic now has a blood glucose meter and urine pregnancy test capability. After a year and a half, the clinic fully transitioned to using MHS GENESIS in April. The transition began with several DoD medical facilities on the west coast and will continue until all DoD medical facilities have transitioned to the new record system. Once complete, Service Members’ medical information will be easily transferable to other medical facilities in DoD and also the Department of Veterans Affairs once the Service Member transitions out of the military. “It makes it easier for the patient for continuity of care across the services,” said Chase. The benefit locally is that the clinic can send prescription orders directly to the Marine Corps Air StationYuma pharmacy as well as other pharmacies in Yuma. Using MHS GENESIS to fill prescriptions has affected the speed of how prescriptions are filled because the system verifies a multitude of information. Due to the added time, using the YPG drive-thru to fill prescriptions became inefficient and was closed on May 14. Still, Health Clinic NonCommissioned OIC Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bray said the clinic’s prescription fill time is relatively quick. “When you talk about medical treatment facilities, 25-30 minutes is a quick turnout,” he said. Patients can log on to the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal to request a refill and pick up their medication at the clinic once it’s ready. In addition, to expanding diagnostic services, the clinic has a few procedural changes. In person appointments are available and patients are still able to use the virtual visit format. “We will always have virtual,” Chase explained. “That is one of the initiatives of the Defense Health Agency.” The clinic has increased the number of phone lines to four with two lines dedicated to advice lines and two for appointment scheduling. Staff also answer phones during the clinic’s lunch hour, meaning a live person will be answering phone calls between 7:30-4:30 p.m. Overall, clinic personnel are looking forward to better serving their community.