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Wing Commander Q&A: PHA, Mental Health, CCRI

  • Published
  • By Col. Laura Lenderman
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander

Here is the next round of Q&As from my most recent Commander’s Call.

I posted these responses and previous Q&A to our wing Sharepoint site and our public website,, for future access and review.

Please keep the questions coming!


It always seems to take a month to get seen at the 375th Medical Group, only to wait longer to get a referral. Is there any way to speed this up?

Yes there is, and those actions are being taken. First, the long wait times to be seen at the MDG this summer were driven by provider shortages. While the 375th Medical Group is not 100 percent staffed at the moment, they are in pretty good shape in most clinics.

Current wait times run from one to seven days for the majority of appointments, depending on the patient’s need. Wait times for specialty care, such as Dermatology, are longer. The DoD standard for specialty care wait times is 28 days, but we always strive to do better. The MDG monitors appointment wait times, broken out by clinic, on a daily basis and continues to find new and innovative approaches to improve access. As for referrals, a lot of focus has been placed on cutting referral times, and they have had a great deal of success. The Military Health System goal of getting a referral to the network within one business day was only being met 31 percent of the time in April of 2016, and we are up to 97 percent. We look forward to serving your medical needs and appreciate your patience with us during our minimal staffing last summer.


When are the Preventative Health Assessments going to be signed?

First, we apologize for the inconvenience that you are experiencing with the timely completion of your PHA. On May 1, the Air Force Medical Service implemented a new Preventative Health Assessment workflow, which caused a complete overhaul to the 375th Medical Group’s current processes. On Oct. 1, AFMS made another significant change to the PHA process, the implementation of the DoD Tri-Service PHA. Unfortunately, this caused another delay to PHA process and workflow. The new guidance created a WebHA form, which is significantly longer than the previous versions and requires substantially more time to complete. As a result, it created a backlog of PHAs pending technician and provider review.

We have experienced some growing pains with the transition to the new PHA process. Despite our challenges listed above, our Medical Group has a plan in place to aggressively clear the backlog of PHAs and is committed to ensuring you receive reliable, timely and trusted healthcare. Please feel free to contact 256-7143 with individual questions.


Could you please elaborate on why Funded Legal Education Programs are only authorized for commissioned officers use as opposed to enlisted?

The Funded Legal Education Program is driven by federal law (vs Air Force or DoD policy) and sets the non-waivable eligibility requirements for applicants, which include being a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force on extended active duty.

The program remains one of the more competitive opportunities for young officers in the Air Force. If you are an officer, enlisted, or Civilian interested in attending law school or becoming a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force, please contact the 375th AMW’s JAG recruiting point of contact, Capt. Dan Carraway, at 256-4781.


If we’re a non-flying wing, why are there so many people with flight suits in the audience during Commander’s Calls, and how do we get more visibility on Operations Group missions/impact?

Thank you for your question. The 375 AMW is actually a flying wing, as well as the host wing for the installation. The 375th Operations Group is comprised of eight flying units, five of which are located here at Scott AFB. The 458th Airlift Squadron operates a fleet of eight C-21 aircraft stationed here at Scott and deploys globally supporting Department of Defense executive support airlift missions. The 458th also operates the Air Force’s only C-21 formal training unit, providing flight training for pilots from four C-21 squadrons. The 54th Airlift Squadron executes the Executive Airlift mission as a Total Force Association unit with the 932nd Operations Group aboard a fleet of four C-40 aircraft. The 906th Air Refueling Squadron, another Total Force Association unit, operates eight KC-135 aircraft accomplishing Air Mobility Command’s air refueling mission alongside the 126th Air Refueling Wing.

The 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron provides qualified aeromedical evacuation aircrews to 18th Air Force missions worldwide. These aeromedical evacuation crews are capable of rapid deployment and conduct medical treatment on-board a wide range of AMC and civilian aircraft. The 375th Operations Support Squadron provides airfield management, air traffic control, Intelligence, and aircrew training support to the entire Scott Air Force Base population, enabling uninterrupted aircraft operations. In addition, the 457th Airlift Squadron flies four C-21s out of Andrews AFB, and we have two Detachments. Det. 1 is located in Oklahoma City, Okla., and flies worldwide flight inspection missions alongside our FAA partners. Meanwhile, Det. 4 is located at Wright-Patterson AFB, and is the Air Force’s only Aeromedical Evacuation Formal Training Unit.

Each of these units’ Airmen and missions are often highlighted in our base paper, The Command Post and through Air Mobility Command Public Affairs releases. We’ll continue to get the word out and share our flying operations accomplishments with the wing and base community. For more insight into our Operations Group, contact our 375th AMW Public Affairs at 256-2600.


We have multiple suicidal ideations in our duty section and the squadron leadership is aware of our concerns. It seems as if Airmen’s careers are being threatened for seeking mental health assistance. Is that reasonable?

Thank you very much for your question. No, that is not reasonable! No one should fear that their careers would be threatened if they sought services for any mental health condition, especially when it comes to suicidal thoughts. Our Mental Health team’s goal is to help people get back to full functionality in both their work and personal lives. The majority of people that seek mental health services do not encounter any deployment or duty restrictions related to their presenting issues. In fact, research studies focusing on the likelihood someone would experience negative career impact when voluntarily seeking mental health services have found 97 percent of those seeking help experienced no negative career impacts. The earlier people seek help, the less likely it is that they will experience symptoms that would impact their work or eventually lead to a medical board. Our Airmen are our most valuable resource. We must take steps to ensure everyone feels comfortable seeking services they need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. If people are discouraging seeking help in your duty section, I encourage you to report your concerns up your chain of command or to the Inspector General’s office.


When will we start utilizing the new hospital vs. going to downtown Belleville?

The new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is slated to open in the fall of 2017. All of the services we currently provide at the downtown Belleville location will move to the new hospital at that time. We are dedicated to ensure all our services experience as little disruption as possible and we know moving to a new facility is a great improvement to all our beneficiaries!


Can the clinic get wifi for patients?

Great question. We would love to have wifi in our patient waiting areas. Unfortunately, regulations make what would appear to be an easy thing actually quite difficult. First, it would have to be commercial wifi because we can’t give open access to the AF Network. Second, recent guidance from the Air Force Surgeon General’s staff has ruled that Defense Healthcare Program funds (the funds used to pay for medical things) can’t be used to purchase commercial wifi.

We’re not giving up hope. We continue to search for new and innovative ways to get wifi into the clinic.


Has there been any discussion on adding a Shoppette on the other side of base (DISA/126th ARW Side)?

We are currently not planning to add a Shoppette or AAFES Express to the north side of the base; however, if you have specific needs you feel are not being served by available facilities, please contact AAFES management, located in the Exchange.



Why does Security Forces not have jurisdiction in Lincoln’s Landing?

Our Security Forces Squadron does not have jurisdiction in Lincoln’s Landing because that neighborhood is not Federal property. Lincoln’s Landing is private property (currently held by Hunt Housing) and as such falls under the jurisdiction of St. Clair County. Our Defenders do routinely patrol in and around Lincoln’s Landing and work closely with St. Clair County to ensure the safety and security of its residents.



How close were we to an “Excellent” on the CCRI?

Thanks for asking this question! We successfully passed the CCRI with a score of 79.3 percent on NIPR and 78.8 percent on SIPR, just decimal points away from earning an Excellent rating (80 percent). The results were huge accomplishment for our showcase team and mission partners. We could not have achieved these results without support across our installation and an amazing effort from Team Scott!


With the new CSAF, how do you see things changing?

Thank you for your question. During his first address as the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Goldfein announced his three focus areas: Revitalizing the Squadron, Strengthening Joint Leaders and Teams, and Advancing Multi-Domain, Multi-Functional Command and Control. In an effort to revitalize the squadron, the CSAF directed the review of 61 additional duties as well as 42 ancillary training requirements. Following the review, the CSAF directed the reduction or modification of 29 additional duties, the reestablishment of Commander’s Support Staffs, the elimination of 15 stand-alone training courses, and the streamlining or consolidation of 16 other courses. While implementation details are being coordinated at higher headquarters, this focus area highlights the CSAF’s commitment and strategic emphasis on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our force.

General Goldfein is also focused on improving how the Air Force develops joint leaders and teams. He stated that we have “got to be a service that’s ready to stand up and lead (joint) campaigns.” To this end Air Force leadership is looking at the development of our officer and enlisted corps to ensure that education and training platforms are preparing Airmen to be proficient in the business of combined arms. He also wants to “…look at getting back into the business of deploying as teams.”

His third focus area addresses advancing multi-domain, multi-functional command and control in order to ensure the Air Force is more networked and can make decisions rapidly. This focus area addresses taking vast amounts of information available to the joint warfighter and leveraging it through the use of common architectures and systems “ operate at a pace as a global chess master with a global force in a way that outpaces our adversaries.” To view more of his messages, please visit and click on his tab under the “About Us” section.