Patient Squadron

Discussion in 'Air Force Patient Squadron' started by Jason Perry, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Benevolent Leader Site Founder Staff Member PEB Forum Veteran

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  2. robs42

    robs42 Moderator

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  3. Thornburg71

    Thornburg71 PEB Forum Regular Member

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    I think it is interesting that Andrews has this...but other AF bases are out of luck. I wonder if there is a plan to expand the program at all? Somehow, I doubt it.:confused:

    The Army has WTUs all over the place to keep recovering/MEB/PEB troops from being hassled by day to day jobs and they seem to work. I have a friend in one here in Germany and he's able to make all of his appointments and study for IT certs while his MEB is underway.

    I'm the AF in Germany and undergoing my second MEB. It would be awesome to have a WTU like entity to work with, vice being on my own and getting the stink eye from certain elements of my chain.
     
  4. robs42

    robs42 Moderator

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    welcome TB,
    same stuff stateside on my end, i'm on just about 2yrs. and 2nd MEB. i hear you on the way the unit looks @ you and the lack of assisstance there is :mad:. good luck!
     
  5. AFPEBLO

    AFPEBLO PEB Forum Veteran

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    The original story about Andrews’ patient squadron was a littlie misleading. Any AF medical treatment facility can stand up and use a patient squadron. I’ve done it at every base I’ve worked (CONUS, OCONUS, big hospital, medium clinic). The issue however is when it’s appropriate to do so.

    The Air Force and the Army utilize personnel very differently. In general, the AF expects you to be utilized by your unit within the limitations of your profile or duty limiting condition. If that is absolutely impossible or if you require long-term care at another MTF (like being TDY to Andrews for months) then the patient squadron may be appropriate but these cases are few and far between.

    Patient assignment however, is not the solution for poor relationships between personnel and their chain of command or coworkers. Also, I don’t know what your WTU friends situation is, but personnel assigned to the patient squadron are assigned duties commensurate with their duty limitations and workplace skills. Patients can pursue off duty education just like any other airman, but this would not afford you time to be a fulltime student while on active duty.
     
  6. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Benevolent Leader Site Founder Staff Member PEB Forum Veteran

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    AFPEBLO,

    I am interested in your last comment. I am aware of several Soldiers who are pursuing full time studies while going through disability processing. Is there a prohibition that you are aware of by regulation that disallows this for Airmen, or is this just a consequence of being otherwise employed to the best of their abilities?

    I think you touch on a subject that sometimes results in a worse outcome for Soldiers. They are sometimes assigned to a WTU, then, in that capacity are able to fulfill the minimal duty requirements in the WTU. The result is that they are sometimes found fit for conditions that would limit their effective performance in a line unit.
     
  7. AFPEBLO

    AFPEBLO PEB Forum Veteran

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    Jason,

    I didn’t mean to imply there are regulations or policies prohibiting airmen (patients or not) from pursuing full time education. My intent was that not being able to do so is a consequence of being fully employed. If any patient can satisfactorily fulfill all of their duty and medical treatment requirements and still carry a full course load, then more power to them (I personally can only manage a few classes per semester and I’m in reasonably okay shape).

    Perhaps I read too much into the previous post, but my read was the soldier in the WTU was able to study for their IT certification because they were not being utilized in the WTU. In my experience from overseeing patient squadrons, this would not be the case for an airmen assigned to a MTF.

    I agree with your second thought. I do not know enough about WTUs to comment, but I’m leery of pushing patient squadron assignment unless it’s absolutely necessary. Taking a patient completely out of their normal place of duty and command structure can have unintended consequences. The biggest issues are getting a meaningful commander’s impact statement and as you mention the appearance of the patient functioning without any impact from their injury or illness when in reality it’s because the duties are somewhat simple and formed to accommodate limitations. This leaves the PEB with a very muddled picture on duty/mission impact.

    A few other issues I’ve run into that impacted the MEB/PEB or kind of hurt the member:
    - LODs must be completed before a patient can be moved; they can be done fast or slow, but need to be thorough.
    - AFSC changes to 8P000 which makes the member ineligible to be promoted (the 2nd to last digit is skill level, to be promoted you must hold a skill level commensurate with the grade)
    - Patients who are unable to do physical style jobs often resent being given administrative duties in their units as an alternative. However, the duties available for them in the patient squadron are usually far more distasteful to them (copying records, sorting paperwork and mail, etc are not the most exciting jobs).
     
  8. flowerss

    flowerss PEB Forum Regular Member

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    AFPEBLO,
    What would it take to get one of these stood up at an overseas clinic (Aviano)? I have been pursuing this for nearly two months now with the local AW2 rep at AFRC and have had little success getting any straight answers. Is it something the MDG CC would do, the PEBLO, support squadron? The issue is, there are a number of us in the SF squadron who have actually begun to answer truthfully on PDHRAs and self-identified to Mental Health, been diagnosed with PTSD among other ailments and as a result we are relieved of duty and have our weapons pulled thus making us "dead weight" within the unit. We are harassed, antagonized and are kept in a hostile work environment. IG hasn't helped; MEO was shocked but we are ineligible as AD to file disability discrimination complaints; Wing Chaplain made a visit to the unit but did relatively little good. Basically we are trying to "maintain gainful employment" but many of us have a hard time controlling ourselves when we are being verbally abused and want nothing more than a stable work environment free of discrimination. We are being pushed to react in ways which would vindicate certain people to push for administrative actions against us. We're not having it, but it cannot last forever. Eventually one of us will snap...Mental Health doesn't seem to take it serious either as we are ignored in our once-a-month 30 minute sessions with the psychiatrist. It's just me but it seems as though it is negligence to say services aren't available when someone says they're tired of it and want to be hospitalized but refused even when suicidal ideations are constant. Who's buttons would you suggest we push in order to force the creation of such a unit? I know myself personally am ready to start emailing these Senior Leaders who tell us how serious suicidal threats should be taken, wounded warriors should have top treatment and speaking up if we are experiencing PTSD symptoms without fear of reprisal. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Steve Flowers
     
  9. AFPEBLO

    AFPEBLO PEB Forum Veteran

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    Steve,

    I absolutely agree; you and your friends should be able to seek help. If you don’t feel you are getting it I suggest you ask to see a different mental health provider or perhaps ask to discuss your concerns with the Medical Group’s Chief of Medical Staff.

    The Medical Group Commander can request patient squadron assignment if they feel it is appropriate. It’s normally a collaborative effort between them, your provider and command to determine when it’s needed but, from what you describe you don’t have very positive relationship with your command or your provider. Unfortunately, I’m at a loss on suggestions for that other than asking to see another provider.

    I recommend you either ask to see a different provider or keep working with the one you have. I do not know your situation outside of your post, but I’ve seen several times over my career where the provider and the patient just aren’t hearing (understanding) each other. Both have good intentions but never get on the same page.

    Suicidal thought is certainly a serious issue that needs attention. Please keep seeking help, but also please be open the provider’s approach. Psychiatry is a difficult field and there isn’t one sure fire way to approach anything, but their efforts are honestly targeted to helping folks build skills to overcome the situation or affliction.

    You mentioned speaking with Chaplains. I see you didn’t feel it helped with your unit’s atmosphere but it’s another avenue I think you should keep up with. If anything, speaking with them is a very positive way to relieve some of the stress you are under.

    I’m sorry I can’t offer anything more than that. Good luck and please continue to try to work things out.
     
  10. Chinook

    Chinook PEB Forum Veteran

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    Steve,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I feel for you and the other members in your unit and I'm sorry to hear that its been so difficult.

    During my last assignment, where I physically fell apart:rolleyes:, I was one of four medics attached to a Security Forces Sq. (One of the best assignments I've ever had, minus the falling apart). I saw first hand what you are talking about and it just shouldn't be that way. We struggled to get our guys to be honest with us and themselves...but they would always tell us the repricutions they would go through "if" they had "this" or "that". We got them help...But, beecause I saw it first hand-I know it took a lot of courage for you all to answer your PHA's honestly and for you to all stand up for what is right and for what you really need. Its ridiculous that you should fear reprisal-shame on them.
    Good for you guys. It seems like it is going to take a bit of work to get your situation taken care of, but it sure seems like you are all motivated and heading in the right direction. AFPEBLO has some great suggestions.

    Steve, you are really helping so many people. The system is broken and you're helping fix it. Keep up the great work. Keep the faith!

    Take Care.
     
  11. Korlingjakes

    Korlingjakes PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Hey yall,

    Sorry to revive the thread but I thought it important. I am actually a member of the patient squadron at Lackland and have been for almost 2 years. If you all have any questions I can help.
     
  12. chantal1922

    chantal1922 PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Hello. How many Patient Squadrons are there and where are they located? Thanks
     
  13. AFPEBLO

    AFPEBLO PEB Forum Veteran

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    There are a few Air Force facilities with ongoing, or more established/defined patient squadrons due their scope (like Malcolm Grow or Wilford Hall Medical Centers) but any hospital or clinic can establish a patient squadron if warranted.

    I’m sorry that it a pretty generalized response. Is there something more specific I can help with regarding this?
     
  14. jessicacm

    jessicacm PEB Forum Veteran

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    I'm active duty medical in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and have an answer on this one. My base has a patient squadron. That basically means we (the medical group) absorb the patients into our duty sections. There is no other change...the person just arrives at a different duty location per day.

    I'm in a unique position in that the Warrior Transition Battalion-Alaska is on this base. Due to my medical complications I qualify for their services. My unit doesn't want to release me in the spirit of AF taking care of their own. They have, however, released me to attend their training. The WTU has given me a Platoon Sgt POC and the Training POC. The training POC has already started sending me information on upcoming classes.

    The WTU has two options for its soldiers: go to work or go to school, either way you put in a full day's work.
     

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