Your perfect gift -- Optimal Health

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kelly M. Duffek
  • 22nd Medical Operations Squadron commander
Every living organism has a "lifeline." Humans are no exception.

In the United States, the average life expectancy is 76 to 78 years old. There are internal and external factors that affect the length of our lifeline. Although there are factors you are unable to impact, many of them you can control. Actions such as what you eat, how active you are or how often you seek medical advice, can alter your timeline positively or negatively.

There is no question life is busy. Sometimes priorities get turned upside down. We may often think we've got plenty of time to move the focus of our lifeline to the top of our priority list. Don't kid yourself. The choices you make today will affect the length of your lifeline tomorrow.

Previously this year, medical group commanders provided information related to multiple free resources available to optimize your health. Preventative health screenings, educational classes on smoking cessation, diet and exercise, stress management and fitness programs are all intended to help increase your awareness and help you take control of your lifeline. Although these tools cannot completely prevent illness and disease, they will help you adapt quicker and potentially reduce the long-term impact on your health.

We've all heard healthy lifestyle choices help reduce diseases and premature death. Similar to a wingman, developing a good relationship with your healthcare provider will improve your chances of implementing healthy choices and enhance the quality of the life you've been given.

While you are taking a close look at your priorities, your medical professional teams are adjusting their priorities to provide an even better patient-centered focus. All the members of the 22nd Medical Group are focused on providing the best care to our warfighters and their families. We take this mission seriously, and our goal is to provide premium healthcare cultivated by teamwork and trust.

To do this, we are realigning our beneficiary empanelment to improve provider/customer relationships and our access to care. Two of our target areas are to increase appointments and reduce our no-show appointment rates.

The average cost for a medical appointment is $240. When customers forget to cancel or miss their scheduled appointment, it not only degrades mission execution and under utilizes our experts; it also prevents another client from receiving care.

In the last fiscal year, almost 3,000 appointments were affected due to no-shows; a resource loss of more than $700,000. As your wingman, we'd like to continue to offer a multitude of opportunities for you to learn and maintain optimal health, but in return, we request your concerted efforts in attending the special services that have been scheduled for you.

As you focus on your goals for the upcoming year, make your lifeline a priority and give yourself the perfect gift of optimal health. Contact your primary care manager today. Let us help you engage in a healthy lifestyle to maximize your quality of life. We'll be your wingman along the way. The choice to take action is up to you.