Here to serve

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- "When will I be seen?" This is a common question coming from folks needing the services of the 17th Medical Group. The answer is dependent upon many factors beginning with the type of appointment you need. A recently more challenging event is making an appointment.

By now you have likely experienced the problems with our appointment line at the clinic or have at least heard of them. We will receive a new answering system to route calls and better assist you in reaching us. Until it arrives, we are trying to sustain the broken system as best we can. I apologize for the inconvenience. We are medics, we try to "heal" things.

Now would be a good time to become familiar with Tricareonline.com. This site offers information on your Tricare benefits as well as online appointment scheduling. A password is required so I advise you to establish one soon to make scheduling your appointment easier when the time comes. If you are being seen in the clinic and a follow up is required, try scheduling your follow up appointment before you leave.

In addition to providing care to acutely and chronically ill active duty, dependent and retired members, the clinic is a key point in deployment preparation and the student pipeline. Airmen in Immunizations, Public Health, Bioenvironmental Engineering, Mental Health and often Optometry play a vital role in making sure Team Goodfellow is medically ready to fulfill the deployment mission.

Many of those same areas are visited by returning members as well. Flight medicine conducts occupational physicals for firefighters, ground based controllers and flying linguists as well as seeing their regular patients and making shop visits throughout the wing.

Overseas clearances for students and permanent party folks involve several departments in the clinic. This is a lengthy process and it is important to initiate it as soon as possible after assignment notification. Requirements include but are not limited to dental examinations and a thorough medical records review for all family members. Records from off-base medical providers must also be reviewed.

Any health concerns must be researched, recorded and forwarded on to the gaining base. Medical staff at the receiving base must ensure all known medical needs can be met at their facility or in the local area.

The timing of this part of the process is out of our control. It can be as short as a few days or it can take up to two weeks or longer. The bottom line is to be sure you and your family have access to the proper care needed while assigned overseas.

The clinic is bustling with activity. We are no more immune to deployments or exercises in preparation for the upcoming Unit Compliance Inspection than any other unit in the wing. We currently have four warrior medics deployed and have received six more taskings. We will continue to provide care and services to you. Please continue to check the Goodfellow Monitor and our clinic marquee for updates on the arrival of the new appointment system.

Know that we are here and proud to serve.