AFIA’s health services inspections demystified
By Ariane Ash, Air Force Inspection Agency Public Affairs
/ Published August 22, 2005
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFPN) -- When a team from the Air Force Inspection Agency arrives at the front door of a medical treatment facility, they have one goal: Turning excellent health care into outstanding health care.
The inspection agency is the only Air Force unit that conducts health services inspections on all Air Force medical facilities -- active duty, Guard and Reserve. Its inspections provide Air Force medical leaders with independent assessments of programs implemented Air Force-wide.
“The (inspections) conducted by AFIA’s inspection teams ensure the health care provided to Airmen and their families is top notch,” said Lt. Gen. Steven R. Polk, Air Force Inspector General. “(They) have had a huge impact on Air Force health care, providing superb guidance to help units provide their patients better services.”
Agency teams are responsible for the inspection of 256 medical treatment facilities worldwide. The agency inspects facilities for all major commands to ensure a standard interpretation of inspection criteria across the Air Force.
All active-duty units are inspected every one to four years, averaging 34 months between inspections, while air reserve components are inspected every four to five years.
“We want our inspections to ensure that active-duty units focus on sustained performance,” said Col. Thomas Berardinelli, AFIA commander, “which is why we conduct inspections with no more than 30 days notice.”
The inspections include aeromedical evacuation squadrons previously monitored by their major command, but recently re-integrated into AFIA’s inspection mission.
Since 2003, the agency has inspected 12 squadrons, providing feedback on compliance with Air Force, major command, wing and unit instructions and policies. The agency’s medical operations directorate developed a process that focuses on compliance with clinical operations, competence and training.
The health services inspection process consists of nine functional areas ranging from medical readiness training to dentistry. Experts in each area interview Airmen from their functional area, review unit documentation and assign a sore based on their assessment.
“We want to emphasize to units we inspect that we are there to help identify strengths and weaknesses in programs to improve the overall operations of the facility,” said Maj. Robert Paz of the medical operations directorate.