Military retirees and family members have an additional health care option that enables them to receive “continuity of care,” according to Col. Ronald J. Place, commander of Winn Army Community Hospital and U.S. Army Medical and Dental Activities Command for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield.
The Richmond Hill Medical Home, a community-based clinic in the Ways Station Shopping Center that opened its doors in March, is now open to military retirees and their family members, Place said.
“The Army is moving to the ‘medical home’ model,” he said. “Right now, we’ve been able to open our Tuttle Clinic (at Hunter) and this clinic to retirees and family members. This clinic has a capacity for about 8,000 patients, and right now it has about 5,500 enrolled.”
Place said opening the Richmond Hill Medical Home and Tuttle Clinic to retirees and their family members, who tend to be older, benefits both the patients and the health care providers as providers get to see a different spectrum of injuries and illnesses than those they’d normally see with active duty soldiers and their family members, who tend to be much younger.
And because all the health care providers at Richmond Hill Medical Home are civilians, he said patients can expect to see the same health care provider from one visit to the next because he or she is not going to be deployed or reassigned to a new duty station.
Michael O’Gorman, group practice manager for the Richmond Hill facility, said nearly half of the patients seen at his clinic are 18 years or under. He said the clinic has seven family practice providers, including a pediatrician and clinical psychologist. It also has a lab and pharmacy, and behavior health and radiological services are available. O’Gorman said the lab processes normal blood and urine tests, as well as pregnancy tests.
Most notably, he said because their medical team uses wireless technology, prescriptions ordered by the health care provider are processed right away, usually with no more than a 10-minute wait at the pharmacy.
“Our intent is for the patient to have a relationship with our primary care team,” he said. “During a patient’s first or ‘in-take’ appointment, he or she is likely to spend 40 minutes to an hour with the doctor. We’re looking for a continuous relationship so we can coordinate our patients’ care and earn their trust.”
Robert C. Madonna Jr., medical director for the Richmond Hill Medical Home, admits he has always been a civilian but said he thoroughly enjoys working with military family members, retirees and their family members.
“It’s been really rewarding,” Madonna said, noting that he recognizes a difference in the medical needs of military families compared to non-military families, if only because they have to endure repeated deployments of their spouses. “The stress these families have been under is unbelievable. We see it and try to help out when we can.”
For more information or to request switching medical enrollment, call 912-435-7464.