81st Medical Group Hospital "Excellent," awaits TJC accreditation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

81st Medical Group Hospital "Excellent," awaits TJC accreditation

Col. Roger Hesselbrock, Air Force Inspection Agency Health Service Inspection team chief, announces the “Excellent” rating the nine-member team gave the 81st Medical Group. (Photo source: Steve Pivnick) Col. Roger Hesselbrock, Air Force Inspection Agency Health Service Inspection team chief, announces the “Excellent” rating the nine-member team gave the 81st Medical Group. (Photo source: Steve Pivnick)

By Steve Pivnick
81st Medical Group Public Affairs

BILOXI, MS (KEESLER AFB) - In a word, the 81st Medical Group is "Excellent."

That is the result the Headquarters Air Force Inspection Agency (AFIA) passed to a standing-room-only audience of medical group members during the team's official Health Service Inspection (HSI) out brief March 12.

A day earlier, surveyors from The Joint Commission (TJC) also praised the staff for the medical care they provide during the out brief following completion of their portion of the tandem survey/inspection that began March 8. Official word of the hospital's continued three-year accreditation from TJC is expected in about a month.

The Joint Commission team consisted of three surveyors: Dr. George Orndorff, nurse Connie Schultz and facility engineer Richard Smith. The nine-person AFIA team was led by Col. Roger Hesselbrock.

Addressing the medical group staff, Dr. Orndorff noted this was his third official visit to the Keesler medical facility.

"I was here as an observer in 2004 and participated in the (2007) survey after Katrina. There has been a tremendous amount of successful work. All of you deserve a big pat on the back. There is good unit cohesiveness and you are doing a good job keeping the facility the way it should be. There is obvious pride in your work."

Ms. Schultz noted when she was on the inpatient units, the people were very forthright. "Many of the items have been fixed or are in the process of being corrected. You should look at this (survey) as another set of eyes."

After hearing TJC surveyors' remarks, Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Dan Wyman, 81st MDG commander, said, "At the end of the day, this survey shows we are a safe and productive hospital that delivers high-quality health care."

The general noted, "In 2005 (before Katrina) we were the second largest Air Force medical facility. After Katrina, we were a clinic for a year then a small hospital for another year. Around 2007 we began the big journey to become a medical center again. We are still evolving. We just opened our new Radiation Oncology Center and the new Inpatient Tower is under construction. Every day we continue to grow. There's no place else in the Air Force like us!"

Before beginning the HSI out brief, Colonel Hesselbrock took a few minutes to recognize the special efforts of several 81st MDG members during the inspection. He presented an AFIA coin to Capt. Suzanne Green, 81st Medical Operations Squadron, who served as the project officer for the visits, and Outstanding Performance Awards to: Senior Airmen Leslie Coelho, 81st MDOS, and Sheila De L'Etoile, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Staff Sgt. Claudia Holcomb, 81st Dental Squadron, Capt. (Dr.) Nathan Evans, 81st MDOS, and Capt. Reynel Garcia, 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron.

The colonel said the team had reviewed three major categories (Expeditionary Medical Operations, In-Garrison Medical Operations, and Leadership) covering 17 areas, 107 elements and 1,635 individual criteria.

"You demonstrated a sustained performance with a level of excellence. That is a super achievement showing utmost professionalism."

Addressing the medical group "Dragon Medics" following Colonel Hesselbrock's remarks, General Wyman stated, "This validated what we already knew: we are a world- class medical facility. It's been a tough week. TJC and AFIA gave us a close look. There are so many moving pieces. We continue to rebuild a medical center and have medics deployed all over the world. Receiving a 90, (AFIA's range for Excellent is between 87-91 points on a 100-point scale) was the result of the pace and preparation you've accomplished over the past several months. Air Force Medical Service leaders view us as one of their 'strong horses.' Keesler is on a lot of peoples' lips because of what TJC and AFIA have validated - you are super! I couldn't be prouder! This entire facility, every single one of us, does this as a team - you are all graded at a 90."

Because only a relatively small number of the 1,600+ medical group staff could attend the out brief, General Wyman sent a group-wide e-mail shortly after the AFIA's departure. He said, "The 81st MDG received a 90 - an EXCELLENT!!! This is an incredibly good score and each and every one of us should be proud...one team, one fight! Thank you so much for what you do, day in and day out, to provide Premier Health Care, Train Air Force Medics and Deploy Combat-ready Medics!"

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