Extended hours making a difference at the medical clinic

  • Published
  • By By Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Schultze
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs
The 9th Medical Group has taken a proactive approach to their healthcare services and created an innovative extended hours program. The initial feedback has been very positive from patients, and the clinic is an early model for other Air Force installations to look to.

“We extended the hours to provide better access to care, it isn’t just about how many appointments we have but when we are able to offer those appointments,” according to 9th MG commander Col. Paul Gourley.

The family practice and pediatrics clinics are seeing the largest extension of hours and are now open Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. respectively.

The remaining clinics, including the lab, the pharmacy, and radiology remain unchanged due to the number of personnel available.

“Over the last quarter we have been able to offer 800 appointments into the evening that were not available before,” according to Gourley.

One of the major factors of the extended hours’ program is that Beale has a large community of shift workers. The extended access allows for much more flexibility in scheduling medical appointments.

“Across the board most clinics are open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Air Force,” said Gourley. “Being that Beale’s population has many shift workers and they do not always fit into that traditional daytime mold, this will offer greater flexibility.”

“I really enjoy the extended hours, because I tend to work shifts a lot so having after hours care allows me to schedule an appoint before or after work,” Said MSgt. Shyle Malavey 9th MG patient.

The benefits of the program are being embraced by civilian patients as well.

“I work normal daytime hours so it makes it easy to schedule an appointment after work, and having school age children it facilitates being able to take them after school as well,” said Jessica Dean, 9th MG patient.

Moving forward the 9th MG is planning to continually adjust based on the feedback they receive to optimize the patient experience and according to Gourley, “Great access to care creates great quality care.”