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Commentary | April 8, 2010

Year of the Air Force Family: Team Based Care

By Capt. Richard J. Odosso 633d Medical Group

When you ask someone what they think of when they hear the word "team," most people immediately respond with a sports-related reference. In sports, good teams are those that work well together. The best teams are winners -- they are champions. But a team can really be any strong group of individuals coming together to achieve a common goal. One of the enhancements coming to family healthcare services at Langley is the development of dedicated healthcare teams. These teams will be your champions in providing the very best medical services and care possible.

Not only will you have healthcare team dedicated to your health, but the goal is to have your entire family assigned to that same team. Each of the teams in the Family Health Clinics will be provider-led and designed so that each team can manage the primary healthcare of the entire family. Every attempt will be made to have all members of the same family seen by the same medical team. This will improve access to medical appointments, decrease wait times and improve specialty care access. It will give you the opportunity to get to know the members of your healthcare team and an opportunity for the healthcare professionals to get to know the healthcare history and needs of you and your family. You will be seen by your healthcare team each time you need an appointment for care. It will also give you a better opportunity to work with your team to manage the healthcare of yourself and that of your family.

Team-based care makes you an actual part of the team and a partner in your healthcare plan. Your opinions and unique healthcare needs are important to the entire team; your participation in meeting those needs will be essential to ensuring you and your family receive exceptional care. As an active team member you can be sure that your healthcare goals and needs are met.

For Langley Hospital to be able to deliver team-based care, some patients will need to be realigned under a new healthcare team. New panels will be formed late April of this year. We realize that changing healthcare providers is a big deal for you and your family. To minimize the disruption, enrollment changes will take place over the summer when several providers are rotating out of the area and a new provider will be required. You will receive a notice in the mail about the changes as well as a brochure introducing your dedicated healthcare team.

Healthcare staff associated with the Langley Hospital will form into eight dedicated teams at the main hospital location and one team at Bethel Clinic. Families will be assigned as a family unit to one of these nine teams. Children currently assigned to the Pediatrics Clinic will maintain their enrollment in that clinic unless you specifically request that they be assigned with the parents to a family health team. Information about reassignment possibilities will be provided at the Pediatrics Clinic; simply ask one of the Pediatric nurses at your next visit.

As Langley Family Health Services moves toward adopting team-based care this summer, the most important thing to remember is that your satisfaction will be key to the success of the program. Medical care should not be difficult or confusing. Team based care will make it easier for you and your family to stay healthy, making everyone in our Air Force family winners and healthcare champions.

We are always interested in hearing your comments, suggestions and other feedback. Please send any thoughts or ideas to LangleyMedHome@langley.af.mil.