Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

March 3, 2011 at 5:19am

McChord field clinic gains services, Airmen gain access

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- The McChord Clinic at Joint Base Lewis-McChord now offers an opportunity for easier access to physical therapy services thanks to the opening Feb. 28 of the Physical Therapy Clinic for active-duty airmen.

Col. Kevin Kilb, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, and Col. Jerry Penner, Madigan Healthcare System commander, cut the ribbon on the clinic showing the joint-effort behind getting it off the ground. Both commanders lauded the efforts of the staff working jointly to open the new clinic.

"The satellite clinic was originally envisioned to augment Madigan's physical therapy clinic and for the convenience of the Airmen working here," said Vicki Odegaard, McChord Clinic assistant officer in charge. "Many of the services that are unique will still be performed at Madigan, but we have a number of services that can be provided right here."

The clinic is staffed by Michael Hammond, physical therapist, and Michael Taylor, physical therapy assistant, and will see around 25 patients a day. The new office makes getting care faster for the Airmen at McChord Field who now drive a shorter distance to the clinic than they would to Madigan's larger facility on the Lewis-main portion of JBLM.

More than $80,000 in funding for the clinic came through Madigan and the U.S. Army and includes new equipment and renovations to create an appropriate space according to Odegaard. The enthusiasm for the opportunities available with the new clinic is already showing.

"It's pretty exciting, we started seeing patients a few days ago and there are a lot of people coming in already," said Taylor.

Lt. Col. Kerrie Golden is the chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation for Madigan and retains oversight for the clinic. The project to stand up the satellite office was largely coordinated by Tony Munoz, administrative officer for McChord's Clinic, and Odegaard, while Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kristie Lowry, officer in charge of McChord Clinic, was deployed for the past year. 

The clinic will offer neuromusculoskeletal, post-operative evaluations and rehabilitation programs for the spine and peripheral joints. The new equipment uniquely equips the office to focus on exercise and sports-related issues, which are common amongst Airmen. While the patient population for the clinic is currently active duty only there are possibilities to expand who can access the services in the future.

"The clinic will assist Madigan in accommodating workload as enrollment increases across the physical therapy services," said Odegaard. "Depending upon capacity and workload we may be able to incorporate enrolled dependents at the McChord satellite if time, staff and space allow in the future."

The Physical Therapy Clinic occupies the temporary location of McChord's Health and Wellness Center within McChord's medical clinic building. Appointments are by referral from an Airman's primary care physician and are made through the TRICARE Regional Appointment Center by calling (800) 404-4506.

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