The Navy is in the planning stages of a pilot program that would put corpsmen-led clinics in commissaries around the country.
The 38th surgeon general of the Navy, Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III discussed this idea of revamping Navy medicine to mimic walk-in clinics at large retailers at the conference of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States last month.
“We’re in the early stages of discussing a pilot program that would develop corpsmen-led clinics that might be in our commissaries or in our exchanges, connected by telemedicine to doctors at the hospital,” Faison said in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune. “So if you’re a patient, while you’re in the commissary you can get your health-care needs met by a corpsman, and that corpsman is getting the opportunity to keep his skills up.
“More importantly, because he’s the guy there, he’s developing the confidence he’s going to need to save lives on the battlefield — but in a structured way that we’re providing good, safe health care using telemedicine links to experienced physicians in the rear.”
The Navy is planning to have the first medical clinic at a commissary in Jacksonville, Fl. The details of this clinic including if patients would be required to have an appointment haven’t been announced yet. The Navy also hasn’t announced what type of medical care would be offered at this clinic. DeCA hasn’t said if its organization is in support or even interested in this pilot program.
Yet, despite the lack of specifics, I’m strongly in favor of this pilot program. I hope this concept is implemented at Jacksonville and then replicated at military installations around the country.
Here are 4 situations when I would have jumped at the convenience of a medical clinic at my commissary.
The Overseas Medical Screening Process
I was overjoyed when we found out that the Navy was relocating us to Japan. But before I could get excited about learning the traditions of a tea ceremony, I had to first work my way (and I say work because it felt like a full-time job) through the system of the overseas medical screening process. This process is very detailed and may require multiple trips to your medical clinic.
Imagine if the medical clinic at the commissary had an overseas screening day where you could come in with your medical history and vaccination records and then get your overseas medical screening efficiently completed. Once you’re done with that short appointment, you could stroll into the commissary and pick up some sushi for lunch.
Flu Shots for the Entire Family
Every fall it’s the same thing. Time to make your appointment to get your flu shot at your medical clinic. It would be super convenient have a flu shot walk-in clinic at a medical clinic at the commissary. I could take my children and we could get our flu shots before doing our weekly grocery shopping.
The 0730 Fight for a Parking Space
Finding a parking space at a medical clinic can be…well exhausting. There never seems to be enough parking spaces for the patients on any given day.
The commissary’s parking lot is spacious. Let’s take advantage of that ample parking by moving a clinic to it.
Immediate Medical Care That Doesn’t Involve Broken Bones
As a mom, I know when my child has an ear infection.
I know when she has pink eye.
I know when she has strep throat.
In all of these cases, she needs immediate medical care but our military treatment facility may not have any same-day appointments available so I take her to the emergency room. I would love to see a medical clinic in the commissary that operates as an urgent care clinic.
Right now, we don’t have the details of the Navy’s proposal to put a medical clinic in a commissary. But I think there are a lot of potential benefits. I would use it if it was available to my family. Would you?