DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Dover AFB Airmen welcomed a quicker and more flexible process to complete their health assessments, Nov. 21, 2019.
The Virtually Integrated Patient Readiness and Remote Clinic, or VIPRR, is a remote care clinic aimed at providing support for service members in need of completing the annual periodic health assessment, post-deployment health assessments and post-deployment health reassessments.
Located in San Antonio, the VIPRR clinic’s goal is to support military treatment facilities with medical readiness to improve access to care for the warfighter.
The change arose from manning limitations of Base Operational Medicine Clinics, which caused delays in appointment scheduling and completion.
“Our active duty were struggling to get in because after our reorganization, we went from six providers down to three, and we were lacking available appointments,” said Tech. Sgt. Juan G. Davila, 436th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron base operational medical technician. “Members were going red or remaining yellow on their IMR. From that point, we realized a lot of individuals needed their [periodic health assessments] done. We were finding ways to improve access to not only our PHAs but our regular appointments.”
Dover AFB’s MTF applied for VIPRR support in early November, received a quick approval and began utilizing the VIPRR clinic’s process.
With the VIPRR clinic handling 100 percent of PHA inquiries for Dover AFB, the base clinic now has an additional 66 virtual and 33 face-to-face appointments available each week.
“We had to make more virtual appointments with non-PHA patients just to catch up on PHAs,” Davila said. “Now patients will be seen for an actual visit instead of just a phone call.”
PHAs typically were scheduled up to 60 days in advance due to the lack of appointment slots. Davila said, now, members should be green on their IMR items through VIPRR in less than a month.
VIPRR clinic hours are from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. EST, allowing more flexibility to the member.
Davila stated the VIPRR clinic’s process is very similar to the current PHA process. Members will complete their PHA questionnaire but instead of contacting the Dover AFB public health clinic, members will contact the VIPRR clinic in San Antonio to be scheduled. The member will receive instructions on how to prepare for an appointment and either complete their PHA via phone or by video chat, whichever is decided between the member and the VIPRR clinic.
The new process, according to Davila, will help the BOMC tremendously, saving man-hours usually spent reaching out to patients to schedule appointments. BOMC personnel will transition into an oversight role, connecting directly with unit health monitors to ensure Airmen can effectively use the VIPRR clinic and ultimately stay current on medical readiness.
“The Army has been using it, and it’s working great,” Davila said. “So far, there’s no complaints. Members like it, because they can get [their PHA] done on their own time. I only see positives about this. From a patient standpoint and the medical group, it’s a win-win for everybody.”