DVIDS – News – BACH Process Improvement team receives coveted Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award


FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – A team of Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians were formally recognized Oct. 21 for their innovative process-improvement initiative that streamlined patient access to behavioral health resources enhancing patient outcomes and medical readiness.

U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle and Army Medicine Chief of Staff and Chief of the Army Medical Department Civilian Corps Mr. Richard Beauchemin presented a team from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the coveted Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award during a virtual award ceremony.

“You all should be extremely pleased because there are a lot of entries that go in for the Wolf Pack Award and for you all to receive this extreme honor speaks volumes about the impact you and the entire team are having not just on the installation there, but in the entire United States Army,” said Dingle, over a virtual teleconference.

Created by the 43rd Army Surgeon General and the fourth AMEDD Civilian Corps Chief, the Wolf Pack Award is issued quarterly and recognizes exceptional teamwork by an integrated group of military and civilian team members focused on excellence in support of Army Medicine.

BACH’s team was recognized for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 for their efforts to better incorporate the hospital’s behavioral health consultants within the hospital’s primary care clinics to enhance patient outcomes and medical readiness. During the initiative, internal behavioral health consultants were assigned to each of BACH’s medical homes, where beneficiaries receive their primary medical care. Consultants support healthy behavior changes such as increasing exercise, decreasing work or home stress, quitting smoking, cholesterol and blood pressure management, and weight management. They also help patients develop plans for improving sleep, managing diabetes, managing chronic pain, migraine management, and modifying alcohol use. Prior to the process improvement project, which began in 2018, their services were underutilized.

“Having behavioral health consultants within our primary care clinics is a great benefit for all enrolled beneficiaries to receive behavioral health support, whether immediately following a primary care visit or scheduled at a later time,” said Col. Patrick T. Birchfield, hospital commander. “This system makes the referral process easy for both the patient and the medical team.”

The behavioral health consultants operate within primary care treatment teams, offering behavioral interventions, counseling, and various treatment modalities and work hand-in-hand with primary care teams to improve a patient’s overall health and quality of life.

BACH’s project focused on four main areas: increasing referrals, improving integration into a holistic model of care, increasing self-referral appointments and warm hand-off of patients to behavioral health consultants, and removing barriers to referring patients.

The project more than doubled the number of face-to-face clinical encounters per day and decreased the patient no-show rate by 15 percent. The team instituted multiple revisions and changes that enhanced the overall patient-centered medical experience, and streamlined patient access for numerous behavioral health needs including reformulating their methods as a result of the pandemic.

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Fort Bend ISD’s complex scheduling process weakens mental health support for students, officials say

Fort Bend ISD officials say using separate schedules for virtual and on-campus classes offer increased learning opportunities that allow online students to return to campus for band or football and other extracurricular classes.

However, maintaining the complicated system means campus counselors now spend all their time “hand scheduling” classes for the district’s more than 76,000 students. That leaves teachers as the sole mental health support for students, administrators said during a school board meeting Monday, Oct. 19.

When questioned as to what kind of mental health support was available for teachers facing an exponential increase in their work load and stress level, administrators recommended deep-breathing exercises, among other things.

“We have wellness moments that we use to open every meeting,” Assistant Superintendent Diana Sayavedra said. “We employ breathing exercises. We communicate the importance of self-wellness and finding the balance between work and home and our ‘Live Well’ (cell phone) app constantly sends reminders and updates to our employees about was they can do to reduce stress.”

One trustee spoke up to question the approach.


“Not to discount breathing, but it reminds me of what they told me when I was in labor, ‘Just breathe through it,’” trustee Kristin Tassin said. “And that doesn’t always cut it.”

Sayavedra said she and other administrators are also currently evaluating ways to possibly offload some teacher duties to other district staffers in the future.

Trustee Grayle James said she had received a lot of messages from teachers who were feeling overwhelmed and asked if a schedule change to allow teachers some extra down time was a possibility.

Superintendent Charles Dupre said he and his staff would consider it, adding he’d also heard from many teachers struggling with stress and anxiety.

“My consistent message to teachers is to ask the teachers to give themselves grace,” Dupre said. “Because when I talk to teachers and I get the largest outcry from teachers, it’s often teachers who’ve set a very high bar for themselves that they’re unwilling to lower.”

The decision to implement separate schedules for on-campus classes and virtual learning continued to be a source of concern for administrators and trustees during Monday’s meeting. The process requires campus counselors to evaluate each student’s schedule individually and resolve various conflicts between the dual scheduling system such as monitoring class sizes and making adjustments for students with overlapping classes.

The process has been so time-consuming campus counselors have no time for their regular mental health support duties, leaving teachers as the sole support for students. The scheduling process is expected to continue to drain resources from mental health support systems in the coming months as new schedules are drawn for the upcoming semester, according to Pilar Westbrook, who serves as Fort Bend ISD’s Executive Director of Social Emotional Learning and Comprehensive Health.

“We know that our counselors are our tier-one for mental health support, but we won’t acknowledge the fact that they have been inundated with

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DVIDS – News – Army Medicine Europe maintains robust COVID testing and reporting process


SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – Army Medicine Europe maintains a robust COVID testing and reporting process, ensuring the health and safety of the entire military community across the European theater. At the same time, Army health officials maintain open lines of communication with host nation public health officials responsible for tracking COVID cases.

According to Army health officials, the COVID reporting process in Europe has matured over the past several months and has proven to be an effective tool in providing military leadership an overall picture of how the epidemic is impacting the DOD population in Europe.

“There are multiple mechanisms and systems in place to ensure senior leadership at MEDCOM and USAREUR are promptly notified about positive COVID cases,” said Col. Scott Mower, force health protection officer for Regional Health Command Europe. “These processes have grown better over time and we are continuously searching for ways to further improve them.”

“The reporting of this critical information through operational channels allows senior Army leaders in Europe to make better decisions when it comes to force health protection of the overall military population.”

Army health officials emphasize that maintaining close relations with the host nation medical offices is critical.

“The Departments of Public Health and the Public Health Emergency Officers at RHCE clinics are at the tip of the spear in executing these vital reporting missions,” Mower added. “The PHEOs work closely with their German counterparts at the community level to ensure COVID cases are reported in a timely and accurate fashion. They also immediately alert installation leadership when new cases are discovered.”

“COVID is, by regulation, a reportable medical event and must be inputted into an electronic disease reporting system just like other serious communicable diseases of public health interest,” said Mower. “The bulk of the COVID reporting work is being done by MTFs and their Departments of Public Health. They are the true worker bees in executing this mission.”

Reporting COVID cases to German health authorities is handled at the local level by each of the respective Army health clinics.

“Army medical treatment facilities from each respective military community across the region submit routine COVID reports to their local German Public Health office (Gesundheitsamt),” said Dr. Robert Weien, public health emergency officer for U.S. Army Garrison Rhineland-Pfalz. “Here in Rhineland-Pfalz, we submit our reports to the local German Public Health Department on a daily basis.”

When it comes to COVID reporting processes across the theater, there is no one size fits all approach and each garrison does it differently, according to Col. (Dr.) Jon Allison, chief of preventive medicine for MEDDAC Bavaria.

“The reporting process and timelines vary from installation to installation depending on the local German Gesundheitsamt,” said Allison. “For example, the COVID-19 total positive numbers for Grafenwoehr are sent to the Neustadt (Weiden) Gesundheitsamt and the total numbers for Vilseck are sent to the Amberg-Sulzbach Gesundheitsamt. This is done on a weekly base with the assistance of the community health nurses.”

Allison says that one of the

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Army Medicine Europe maintains robust COVID testing and reporting process | Article

By Kirk FradyOctober 20, 2020

SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – Army Medicine Europe maintains a robust COVID testing and reporting process, ensuring the health and safety of the entire military community across the European theater. At the same time, Army health officials maintain open lines of communication with host nation public health officials responsible for tracking COVID cases.According to Army health officials, the COVID reporting process in Europe has matured over the past several months and has proven to be an effective tool in providing military leadership an overall picture of how the epidemic is impacting the DOD population in Europe.“There are multiple mechanisms and systems in place to ensure senior leadership at MEDCOM and USAREUR are promptly notified about positive COVID cases,” said Col. Scott Mower, force health protection officer for Regional Health Command Europe. “These processes have grown better over time and we are continuously searching for ways to further improve them.”“The reporting of this critical information through operational channels allows senior Army leaders in Europe to make better decisions when it comes to force health protection of the overall military population.”Army health officials emphasize that maintaining close relations with the host nation medical offices is critical.“The Departments of Public Health and the Public Health Emergency Officers at RHCE clinics are at the tip of the spear in executing these vital reporting missions,” Mower added. “The PHEOs work closely with their German counterparts at the community level to ensure COVID cases are reported in a timely and accurate fashion. They also immediately alert installation leadership when new cases are discovered.”“COVID is, by regulation, a reportable medical event and must be inputted into an electronic disease reporting system just like other serious communicable diseases of public health interest,” said Mower. “The bulk of the COVID reporting work is being done by MTFs and their Departments of Public Health. They are the true worker bees in executing this mission.”Reporting COVID cases to German health authorities is handled at the local level by each of the respective Army health clinics.“Army medical treatment facilities from each respective military community across the region submit routine COVID reports to their local German Public Health office (Gesundheitsamt),” said Dr. Robert Weien, public health emergency officer for U.S. Army Garrison Rhineland-Pfalz. “Here in Rhineland-Pfalz, we submit our reports to the local German Public Health Department on a daily basis.”When it comes to COVID reporting processes across the theater, there is no one size fits all approach and each garrison does it differently, according to Col. (Dr.) Jon Allison, chief of preventive medicine for MEDDAC Bavaria.“The reporting process and timelines vary from installation to installation depending on the local German Gesundheitsamt,” said Allison. “For example, the COVID-19 total positive numbers for Grafenwoehr are sent to the Neustadt (Weiden) Gesundheitsamt and the total numbers for Vilseck are sent to the Amberg-Sulzbach Gesundheitsamt. This is done on a weekly base with the assistance of the community health nurses.”Allison says that one of the benefits of Germany’s decentralized local health

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