Health care administrators, entrusted to facilitate health care

  • Published
  • By Capt. Fredric Orcutt
  • 341st Medical Group
Active-duty members, their families and retirees of Malmstrom Air Force Base trust our doctors, nurses and medical technicians to provide high-quality, safe and professional health care.  Patients may only see their provider during a visit; however, a largely hidden yet critical component of the health care delivery team is the administrators working tirelessly in support of patient care.

In the Air Force Medical Service, health care administrators include Medical Service Corps (MSC) officers and their enlisted colleagues, health administration technicians (4As), along with equivalent civilian or contract employees.  The last week of October each year is recognized as MSC/4A Appreciation Week, designed to help promote and celebrate the contributions of these dedicated professionals.  The theme for 2015 is "Trusted Care Begins With Me," a nod to the impact health care administrators have on the quality of service and care provided to our patients.

Consider the scenario of a nervous first-time mother whose infant has developed a cough.  She trusts the team at the Malmstrom Clinic to provide quality care to her baby.  Her reassuring first impression of the premier quality of the Malmstrom clinic is the health administration technician at the pediatrics front desk, ready to verify the patient's identify and efficiently check her in with a comforting smile. 

The newborn is then brought to an exam room which is fully stocked with the proper supplies needed for world-class health care, thanks to the MSC and 4As in medical logistics.  The 4A biomedical technician works night shifts to ensure all medical equipment is safe and effective when needed. 

The nurse normally assigned to pediatrics is deployed; fortunately, the MSC and 4As in the resource management section secured the funding and approval to bring in a contract nurse to provide care for Malmstrom families.  MSCs, 4As and civilians keep the Malmstrom Clinic running with the funding and manpower needed to serve our patients every day.

Meanwhile, the 4As in medical records are busy creating a new record for the infant and the team in the referral management center is handling the referral for the infant to see a specialist.  The TRICARE Operations and Patient Administration team is entrusted by our patients to protect patient records and to help navigate the complex world of medical care. 

These health care administrators, along with others throughout the medical group including medical information systems, commanders' support staff and readiness, work diligently to ensure the clinical teams have the necessary supplies, manpower and facilities to provide high-quality care at home or deployed.  The patient and her mother may not have seen them during their visit, but this team of dedicated MSCs, 4As and civilian administrators proudly upheld the trust placed in them by a sick infant and a nervous new mother.