Landstuhl Regional Medical Center: Improving ways to access patient care

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

Incoming patients and summer rotations can make access to care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center a bit of a trick for military dependents and retirees to get. Care is still available — a person just needs to know how to go about getting it.
Many LRMC clinics are seeing predominately active-duty personnel only. Each case is evaluated individually, so there are instances where dependents are seen, but access is limited.
The current care status is a direct result of clinics overburdened with injured patients from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
LRMC also has a significant number of health-care providers deployed downrange. Summer also plays a role in the decision.
“This frequently happens in the summer as we underlay,” said Col. Steven A. Older, deputy commander for clinical services. “We just have a smaller number of resources now than during other times of the year. We compensate during these times by bringing in doctors from America to fill our needs.”
Examples of clinics where access is extremely limited are orthopedics, dermatology and urology.
“Unfortunately it changes from week to week, depending on what types of injuries are coming in and the stress load placed on certain clinics,” said Maj. Timothy J. Hoiden, chief of clinical operations.
Beneficiaries who are not able to be seen by LRMC clinics will be referred to the Preferred Patient Network and seek help on the German economy.
Quality of patient care in the civilian sector is monitored by U.S. military medical personnel.
“A military quality-monitoring program assures that patients will receive the best care possible from host nation health care providers,” said Col. James Rundell, TRICARE Europe executive director. “The military medical treatment facility and TRICARE Europe officials gather information about providers in the network from patient surveys, consultation report reviews, and other feedback tools,” he said. “That information is used to make the system better.”
Patient liaisons also are available to answer questions and, if necessary, walk patients through the entire process.
Liaisons are also available to answer questions about the local hospital including translations, discharge instructions, what to expect with regard to food, procedures, visiting hours, cultural differences, length of stay and what personal items patients may need to take with them.
“Patients need not worry about seeking help on the economy,” said Major Hoiden.
“Our liaisons will make appointments for them if that’s what they need. They will even escort our patients and help them fill out their TRICARE claim forms to make sure their experience is as hassle-free as possible,” he said.