EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
As of Sept. 1, the former medical operations and medical support squadrons changed to the 354th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron (OMRS) and the 354th Healthcare Operations Squadron (HCOS) to improve Eielson’s overall readiness.
“In February of 2019, the Secretary of the Air Force directed the Air Force Surgeon General to reform the Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) to restructure Military Treatment Facilities to support an initiative to improve combat readiness and lethality while revitalizing squadrons,” said U.S Air Force Lt. Col. Clayton Rabens, the 354th OMRS commander. “This helps us more effectively leverage personnel to better capture unit commander priorities.”
The change comes from the Air Force Medical Reform model which aims to increase the overall readiness of the military.
“Basically we are following the changes that AFMS has mandated to return our active-duty Airmen back to duty quicker,” said Staff Sgt. Halie Gonzalez, the 354th HCOS noncommissioned officer in charge of patient administration. “The new system is designed to better manage our medical readiness so our folks can deploy and eases access to healthcare.”
The 354th OMRS will focus mainly on active-duty troops and getting them back out in the field while the 354th HCOS will focus on delivering all other beneficiary care and provide support services to the medical group.
“Reforming our medical group enhances the Air Force's ability to proactively manage active-duty care and improves personnel availability, readiness and deployability,” Rabens said.
With active-duty medical care being its own entity now, Airmen in the 354th OMRS will be able to see and care for active-duty patients faster and more efficiently.
While the Eielson community will likely not see any physical changes, except a potential change with their primary care provider, the internal workings of the 354th MDG will be significantly changed.
Looking towards the future, the 354th MDG is monitoring the transition to see how the change will impact Eielson’s medical readiness.
A ceremony will be held to commemorate the transition but has been rescheduled to comply with current Eielson COVID-19 policies.