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Less services at next retiree day on JBLM

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Retiree Health Promotion Fair April 21 at American Lake Conference Center

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Retired military TRICARE beneficiaries attending the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Retiree Health Promotion Fair April 21 at American Lake Conference Center as part of the JBLM Retiree Appreciation Day will experience a reduction in health screening services provided in comparison to what has been offered previous years.

Dermatology screening, vascular ultrasound, vaccinations and blood draws will no longer be offered at the fair which has become the largest continental United States-based retiree appreciation fair, last year drawing more than 2,600 attendees from seven different states.

According to Lt. Col. (Dr.) Rodd Marcum, the chief of the department of preventive medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center, and medical director of the fair, with the evolution of preventive health services, the determination to screen for a health condition has become increasingly individualized between doctor and patient rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

“The goal of this is really to empower our beneficiaries and retirees to play an active role in their own health promotion, prevention and chronic disease management,” Marcum said.

The decision was made to scale back on the screenings to increase consistency with routine clinical practices, according to Marcum. Determining which screenings a person needs is based on the individual’s risks, exposures, genetics, family history and other factors; this requires clinical decisions, Marcum said.

Rather than get screened or receive a vaccine just because it is available, Marcum said it is more appropriate for patients to engage their own primary care manager to determine which clinical services are appropriate based on their individual case and characteristics.

Considerable resources will still be committed to the fair, including representation from 53 sections, clinics and support services from Madigan — approximately 130 staff members.

With an emphasis on safety, the JBLM Retiree Health Promotion Fair will offer:

• hearing booth

• vision screening

• dental screenings

• interactive colon cancer display

• information about Retire Strong program

• information about internal medicine wellness plan

• TRICARE, Social Security, Thurston and Pierce County Office on Aging

• Anderson Simulation Center

• American Red Cross and American Cancer Society

“We’re real jazzed,” said Cynthia Hawthorne, Army public health nurse from Madigan and lead agent for the health fair. “It’s going to be more education and prevention focused and showing people how they can be empowered to do a lot more than just take a pill.”

Hawthorne said retirees can sometimes become resigned to aging and settle in to thinking they can’t do anything to improve their health. Through nutrition and activity, life can be more than refill appointments and pills, she said.

Marcum said in recent years there has been a lot of interest in numbers and tests rather than focusing on health, fitness and well-being. Staff at the fair will encourage patients to understand how they can prevent and delay the progression of chronic diseases.

“I think they’re going to learn a lot more about taking better care of themselves,” Hawthorne said.

Nikkia Russell, assistant retirement services officer at JBLM, who will oversee the JBLM Retiree Appreciation Day, said retirees may have some reluctance to come and participate with the news of reduced screenings and services being offered. Event planners want to ensure retirees are aware of what health screenings will be available.

Russell said the education piece of the fair is still going to be great for prevention.

Marcum said the deciding factor in changing what health screenings would be available focused on maintaining a standard of care. He pointed out that tests and studies must be documented by an individual’s own primary care manager otherwise the results can’t be counted toward annual health care maintenance.

“We’re going to do the right thing when it comes to maintaining a standard of care and that we maintain the continuity in the longitudinal health record,” he said. “We want to avoid making people comfortable with the idea that they are getting the level of care they need each year by getting a blood test.”

At the end of the day, Marcum said, retirees should leave the fair understanding the key role they play in impacting their health and their health care and be more comfortable engaging their health care team.

For more information about the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Retiree Health Promotion Fair 2017, call 253-968-4382.

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