Members of Team Ramstein will soon be seeing some new faces at the medical clinic when the Sembach Annex Medical Clinic closes.
Military members and their families assigned to the Sembach clinic for care will be transferred to Ramstein Tuesday upon its closure.
The Air Force continues to find ways to improve medical care for Airmen and their dependents and this is one of those examples.
Col. Jay Cloutier, 86th Medical Operations Squadron commander, who has oversight of both the Ramstein and Sembach clinics, said there are several reasons for the move; however, the mission of providing quality care is the driving force.
“Our main focus is making sure the patients get quality of care … the best care they can get, at the best place they can get it at,” he said. “The other main reason is we’ve become a constant deployer-like base.”
The colonel said out of the five providers assigned, four of them are deployed. That only leaves one physician, who rotates between both the Sembach and Ramstein clinics. The Sembach clinic is only open three times per week.
The 86th MDOS has been publicizing the move, meeting face-to-face with customers and sending out letters to customers to help the transition go smoothly. Their main emphasis is to let customers know they will still have the same care at the Ramstein clinic. An added benefit to the move will be the additional programs that clinic members didn’t have access to at Sembach.
“With the move to Ramstein, it’s going to allow for greater uses of different services,” the colonel said. “We have a full pharmacy and laboratory down here; we didn’t have that at Sembach.”
Patients will also have better access to the TRICARE referral center and everything will now be under one roof, instead of having an initial appointment with a doctor at Sembach then making calls and visits to different locations.
To help ease the transition for patients, TRICARE and patient administration members are in the process of moving all medical records.
“We are doing this in phases and are about midway through the process,” said Capt. Ryan Yates, 86th Medical Support Squadron TRICARE Operations and Patient Administration Flight commander. “All medical records will be relocated to Ramstein by the end of this week so that any Sembach patient being seen on Ramstein will have his or her records available on Day One of the transition.”
Though the closure means about 900 patients will move to Ramstein, there should be minimal impact to normal medical issues and appointment wait times for those already here.
“Patients are coming down with their own team,” Colonel Cloutier said. “It’s not like, ‘hey we’ve added 6,000 more people here with no additional providers.’ We have the physicians, we have the technicians and we have a nurse. But instead of being at Sembach, they’re going to be here.”
Captain Yates said his team is also working on the enrollment portion so patients can remain with their doctor when moved to Ramstein.
For more information or to book appointments, call the appointment line at 479-CARE (2273) or 06371-46-2273. Appointments can also be booked online at www.tricare.mil.