Support missions to impact some hospital services

  • Published
  • By Kristen Van Wert
  • 88th Medical Group

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE. Ohio -- In response to spiking COVID-19 cases across the country, U.S. Northern Command is mobilizing multiple medical support teams to assist in locations where hospitals are overwhelmed due to staffing shortages.

Three teams are being mobilized from the 88th Medical Group. 

“Despite the personnel challenges we face, we will continue being a high-reliability organization, delivering the trusted care our warfighters and patients expect,” said Col. Christian Lyons, 88 MDG commander.

This is not the first time Wright-Patterson Air Force Base medics have supported this effort. Recently, a small number of medics returned from a medical support team tasking to Muskegon, Michigan. 

“Our Airmen are always proud to serve, but there is something even more special to our team members in providing care to our nation’s citizens alongside our civilian medical partners,” Lyons said. “Nothing is more inspiring than the military-civilian partnership being demonstrated right now to save lives.

“Wright-Patterson Medical Center stands ready to provide additional teams of Airmen medics in support of the president and our nation.”

These deployments will have some effects on the delivery of care.

“As team members temporarily leave Wright-Patt, we want to be fully transparent about the impact these deployments will have on our staff and ability to provide care to our beneficiaries,” said Col. (Dr.) Ryan Mihata, 88 MDG deputy commander. ”Some appointments previously scheduled with impacted providers and clinicians will be rescheduled.”

Beneficiaries can also anticipate the following:

--Delays in renewals of non-urgent medications

--Longer wait times for TRICARE secure message responses

--Delays in routine non-urgent appointments

--Decreased inpatient-bed availability

--Postponement or cancellation of elective surgeries to allow for emergency surgeries

During this period, beneficiaries are encouraged to take advantage of all available care options, which include:

--Urgent care centers in the community for acute-care needs

--Visiting the nearest emergency room for true emergency conditions

--Nurse advice line: or 800-TRICARE

“Although many providers, nurses and staff will be impacted by the impending deployments, our care teams on-site will still be available,” Mihata said. “People will continue to have access to secure messaging, pharmacy refills and some medical appointments, although the response may be delayed as they work to support all beneficiaries with medical needs and provide the trusted care to our active-duty population.”

While Wright-Patterson Medical Center navigates these temporary changes, beneficiaries can remain confident that the goal of providing Ready Reliable Care for all is always at the forefront.

“Our best response will take a unified effort among our providers, our clinicians and our beneficiaries,” Lyons added. “We appreciate your understanding and your partnership as we work to provide trusted care for our patients here at Wright-Patterson and beyond.”