Medic training critical to readiness

  • Published
  • By Heather Heiney
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

Both Malmstrom Air Force Base’s fleet of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and its Airmen stay ready to respond and defend America’s way of life at any time. Just like missile maintainers take care of the ICBMs and keep them in top condition, the 341st Medical Group is charged with maximizing its Airmen’s health, fitness and readiness.

In addition to routine healthcare, the medical group must be ready to provide rapid, responsive support for natural or man-made contingencies. To maintain those skills, the group conducts regular training, exercises and inspections.

To minimize patient impact and allow Airmen to focus on learning, the medical group closes one day a month for training. In June that training day is June 24, then starting in July it will be every third Thursday of the month.

“The 341st Medical Group recognizes the frustration being closed once a month may cause our customers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jill Higgins, 341st MDG superintendent. “However, we want to provide you and your families with the utmost in patient care while ensuring we remain proficient for future contingencies and wars.”

No appointments are scheduled during training days and the phones are not manned. However, patients still have the opportunity to send a message to their medical provider through the MHS GENESIS patient portal ( Medical providers can then respond to or call the patient when they are available.

“The Air Force Medical Service has done a fantastic job in recruiting the best medical professionals and trained up the support staff to augment these experts,” Higgins said. “To maintain their currency and proficiency, our medical staff need to train on those aspects of medicine we do not get to see on a regular basis.”

Half of each training day is focused on full-spectrum readiness. Because the Malmstrom clinic is an outpatient facility without an emergency room, Higgins said this training gives medics an opportunity to practice types of medicine they don’t get to use on a regular basis. For example, medics might practice active shooter response, patient decontamination and natural disaster response. Also, each healthcare team member is assigned to one of 13 Medical Contingency Response Plan teams and will break into those teams when the group runs mass casualty or major accident response exercises.