Maxwell Air Force Base on Aug. 5 formally reorganized and re-designated two of its medical squadrons to help make sure as many airmen are ready and available for deployments as possible.
In a Friday release, Maxwell said the 42nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron was re-designated the 42nd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, and the 42nd Medical Operations Squadron became the 42nd Health Care Operations Squadron. Both are part of the 42nd Medical Group
Under the revamped system, which is part of the Air Force Medical Reform model, the two squadrons are meant to work together to provide the best medical care for airmen, their families, and retirees, Maxwell said.
The newly-renamed medical readiness squadron will focus on proactively treating active duty service members, to improve their availability to support the Air Force’s warfighting mission, the release said.
“As an expeditionary force, the Air Force Medical Service must maintain the Air Force’s most valuable weapon system: its airmen,” Lt. Col. Scott Corey, commander of the 42nd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, said in the release. “To do that, the OMRS will empanel active duty members with a focus on the medical readiness posture and availability of our expeditionary forces and getting ‘downed airmen’ back in the fight.”
The Air Force in June announced plans to roll out a series of medical teams to treat active-duty airmen and get them able to deploy once again, as part of the Air Force Medical Reform program. These provider care teams, which will be aligned with operational medical readiness squadrons similar to the one in the 42nd, will be able to “holistically” treat airmen and reach out to them, instead of waiting for them to seek out medical care. This could include paying visits to airmen in their duty locations to learn what personal and workplace challenges they face, and working with airmen’s leaders to help manage their care and minimize their amount of down time due to medical issues.
The program is intended to help solve lingering health-care issues keeping airmen from deploying. The Air Force has made improving deployability a top priority in recent years.
The 42nd Health Care Operations Squadron, on the other hand, will provide care for non-active duty service members, family members, and military retirees.
But the changes will not affect the type or quality of care beneficiaries receive, Lt. Col. Melissa Runge, commander of the health care operations squadron, said.
“The changes that are occurring are organizational, not functional,” Runge said. “There will be no effect on how our beneficiaries receive care in the military health system. The care they receive will remain the same.”
Maxwell said 42 other military treatment facilities in the continental United States are similarly transforming.
“The bottom line for all these changes is that we will still provide the same outstanding medical care that we’ve always provided,” said Col. Jeanette Frantal, commander of the 42nd Medical Group, “Other than beneficiaries potentially being assigned different primary care managers, the adjustments should be fairly unremarkable to everyone.”
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.