News: Marine Centered Medical Home opens new doors for patient care
Story by Cpl. Paul Peterson
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A new program is leaving an increasing number of empty seats at 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s French Creek Medical Clinic here.
“A year ago, the waiting room would be chalked full of people, and it would be chaos,” said Cmdr. David M. Stevens, the group surgeon for 2nd MLG. “[Now], it’s fairly busy in the morning, but you see some empty chairs and the exam rooms are all full.”
The clinic is one of only six sites across the Marine Corps testing the new Marine Centered Medical Home, which is designed to increase the quality and efficiency of care available to servicemembers in garrison.
One of the program’s goals is to consolidate medical resources in a centralized location, where it is readily available to personnel from several units.
With the help of Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, the French Creek clinic upgraded its facilities, incorporated wireless computer systems, and added civilian personnel to its staff.
“Our [civilian] clerks and nurses cannot be deployed and give us continuity,” said Stevens. “There is always someone here, and all you have to do is get on the phone and call.”
Instead of waiting in lines to be seen at aid stations, servicemembers can now call for an appointment and receive more comprehensive care at the integrated clinic.
The centralized facility gives Marines and sailors access to upgraded exam rooms, a pharmacy, laboratory, and hearing exams. It even shares a location with the 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd MLG, which currently has the highest level of dental readiness in the Marine Corps, said Stevens.
“It’s very powerful the way all these pieces come together,” said Stevens. “You’re not on your own. That’s why we’re calling it a medical home. It’s where you belong. It’s a complete, entire system where almost everything can be done right here.”
Medical professionals from 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd MLG help staff the clinic, which can provide care to servicemembers even when their normal aid stations are closed.
In the long run, the program is also designed to reduce the amount of work needed to provide care for individual servicemembers. It focuses on same-day care to catch health problems early, and a secured messaging system will even allow patients to ask questions and fill prescriptions without having to set up time-consuming appointments.
“We’re at the bow wave of this pilot course here,” said Chief Petty Officer David S. Beason, the senior enlisted leader for Marine Centered Medical Home. “The reality is someone came up with this plan other than us. All we’re doing is trying to take this plan and mold it to fit Marine Corps medicine.”
The consolidated nature of the clinic also improves communication between servicemembers’ various medical providers and the facility’s staff, who have proven instrumental to the program’s success, said Beason.
“They have ownership of this process,” he said.” If they weren’t contributing and doing their part, we wouldn’t be successful.”
The example laid out by the French Creek clinic will help set the standard for others to follow as the process of remodeling Marine Corps medicine continues, said Beason. Reduced wait times are just the start.