News>Open for business: Andersen's new physical therapy clinic
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - Col. Walter Cayce (left), 36th Medical Group commander, helps Brig. Gen. Phil Ruhlman (right), 36th Wing commander, mark the opening of Andersen's new physical therapy clinic at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 11. The ceremony was held at the Health and Wellness Center, which houses the new facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Hart)
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - Staff Sgt. Rebecca Smen (left), of the 36th Medical Operations Squadron, answers questions from Brig. Gen. Phil Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander, and his wife Lina about the newly opened physical therapy clinic at the Health and Wellness Center Dec. 11. Sergeant Smen is one of two physical therapy technicians who work at the new facility on Andersen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Hart)
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - Brig. Gen. Phil Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander, and his wife Lina, listen as Senior Master Sgt. Leonardo Castro, 36th Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy technician, describes benefits of a physical therapy clinic on Andersen. General Ruhlman and his wife were guests at the Dec. 11 ribbon-cutting ceremony, which marked the official opening of the new facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Hart)
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - Senior Master Sgt. Leonardo Castro (left), Staff Sgt. Rebecca Smen (center), and Maj. Bradley Reyman (right), 36th Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy staff, pose while cutting a cake to celebrate the Health and Wellness Center's new physical therapy clinic grand opening Dec. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Hart)
by Senior Airman Jonathan Hart
36th Wing Public Affairs
12/12/2008 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- After $25,000 of renovations, 22 months of plans and implementations, and one ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Dec. 11, the 36th Medical Operations Squadron's new Physical Therapy Clinic officially opened its doors to base military residents and their dependents.
"The biggest impact our facility will have on the mission at Andersen is definitely the number of man-hours saved," says Senior Master Sgt. Leonardo Castro, 36th MDOS, one of two physical therapy technicians who work alongside the base's first physical therapist, Maj. Bradley Reyman.
Before Andersen had its own physical therapy facility, patients were inconvenienced with travel to other facilities on island.
"Service members who required physical therapy in the past were traveling to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, which can be up to a one-hour commute. Appointments were taking approximately three to four hours out of the duty day, up to three times a week. That's a lot of time away from our mission," Sergeant Castro said.
As Major Reyman agreed, "the 36th Medical Group can now save the 36th Wing 14,400 service member work-hours annually. Not to mention, our men and women in uniform deserve to have this service. We're expecting to treat about 300 patients per month, including dependents, which would have been impossible two years ago."
Man-hours are not the only resource the new facility will save. With such a high number of patients over the past two years, referrals were often made to local physicians off-base to handle overflow, costing the U.S. Air Force a great deal of funds.
Capt. Adam Rector, the 36th Wing's Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century Program Director, said the availability of this new clinic epitomizes a culture of continuous improvement in which Airmen at all levels look for innovative ways to save manpower and money.
Treatment at the physical therapy clinic is considered to be comparable to civilian practices, though, as a physical therapist, Major Reyman emphasizes on the exercise element of physical therapy as opposed to pain relief.
"We would rather fix the problems our patients arrive with instead of masking them and potentially making them worse," he explained.
For those who feel they need physical therapy, a primary care manager referral is needed. Contact the physical therapy clinic at 366-2419 for more information.