Base Medical Group offers Two Pediatricians for Military Children
By By P. A. Tezuka , SMC Public Affairs
/ Published July 21, 2008
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 61st Medical Group at Los Angeles AFB has been taking advantage of having two pediatricians assigned to the base, one seeing patients in the clinic at Fort McArthur and the other seeing patients at the El Segundo clinic. Due to an overage at MAJCOM, 61 MDG received an extra pediatrician last summer and are running full par in taking care of military children from newborns to 18-years olds.
Dr. (Maj.) Eddie Uy arrived at Los Angeles AFB last year and sees his patients at the El Segundo clinic. Pediatric patients at the Fort McArthur clinic are seen by Dr. (Maj.) Anthony Valle who arrived here in late summer last year from Vandenberg AFB replacing the outgoing pediatrician. The pediatric clinics see patients for all types of routine appointments. They serve as the primary care managers for approximately 2,400 children.
In the past, one pediatrician serviced 1,500 patients at Fort McArthur. Children visiting the El Segundo clinic were seen by doctors qualified to treat all ages or by physicians' assistants. Having two pediatricians greatly reduces the frequency of sending patients to local network urgent care clinics during times of high demand.
"One of the biggest benefits that we've seen is that the average wait time for an appointment for children has dropped dramatically because we have two pediatricians," said Capt Troy Dillon, Group Practice Manager for the clinic. "Before, children were competing for appointments to be seen by a provider with the adult patient population, at least up at the clinic in El Segundo. Definitely, it's a benefit for our population of children."
Having dedicated pediatricians means more same-day care is accomplished in-house for urgent-care patients and also shorter wait times for non-urgent type appointments. Before receiving the extra pediatrician, wait times for a routine follow-up appointment took about eight days. Now with two pediatricians, wait time is averaging five days. It also offers opportunities for the children to build trusting relationships with their doctors because of the availability of seeing the same pediatricians each visit.
"That would be the goal ... to see the same pediatrician every time," said Captain Dillon. "However, it doesn't always happen that way because the pediatrician may be away on a TDY or on leave. Then, we can offer care by the other pediatrician at the other location, or an appointment with one of the family practice providers at their regular clinic location."
Another advantage of having two pediatricians is that if frees up appointment times by the family practice providers for the active-duty members and their enrolled dependants.
"It gives some benefit for the adult population, too," said Captain Dillon. "The family practice providers have more time now to see military members and other enrolled adults."
Both pediatric clinics are staying quite busy. On the average, Dr. Valle sees approximately 20 patients a day at the Fort McArthur Clinic. Dr. Uy generally sees about 18 patients per day at El Segundo. Appointments are typically 15 to 30 minutes long, which includes some admin time, and at times can run longer to suit an individual patient's needs. Some specialized treatments for children are still referred to civilian providers.
On most days, the first appointments begin at 7:30 a.m. and they run through 3:30 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 310-653-CURE/2873. After the initial recorded message, pressing "zero" will transfer the call directly to the appointment line, bypassing other recorded messages. Appointments can also be made through www.tricareonline.com from work or home. Each individual in the family must be registered to properly book an appointment.