More ways to save: The 10th Medical Group focuses on making 'Every Dollar Count'

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Battling the federal budget-crunch might be a daunting task, but the 10th Medical Group is up to the challenge, said the Group's deputy commander, Col. Michael Cunningham.

"When asked to investigate and explore every possible way to save taxpayer dollars, we jumped at the chance,' he said. "With DOD healthcare costs comprising 10 percent of the DOD budget, it is vitally important that we increase efficiencies in the delivery of quality healthcare."

"There are numerous examples of how we've worked to successfully exist within our current budget constraints, but we're not resting on our laurels," he said. "On a daily basis, we continue to discover ways to be more innovative and cost-effective."

In 2013, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer launched the Every Dollar Counts Campaign, geared toward involving all Airmen in minimizing expenses across the Air Force. The goal of the program, he said, is fiscal responsibility.

"When things get tough, Airmen figure out a way to get it done," Spencer said in a 2013. "We have some of the most innovative folks in the world, so I know there are ideas about how we can do things better."

Airmen responded to Spencer's call in droves, with more than 8,000 money-saving ideas submitted within three weeks of the campaign's start.

"The 10th MDG also answered the General's call to action, discussing a wealth of ideas to successfully exist within the Group's budget and provide quality healthcare for our patients," Cunningham said.

MDG cost-saving initiatives

-- The Medical Group added additional staffing to their newly created Falcon Clinic to provide quality service for patients with greater health care needs. This decreased emergency room visits and civilian network referral treatment and has so far saved approximately $1.4 million, with greater savings expected in coming years.
-- The Group's five pharmacies saved $3.3 million by constantly reviewing Defense Department contract prices and teaming with local military installations to adjust purchases for the best prices.
-- The 10th MDG improved third-party insurance billing and increased collections from civilian insurance companies by 109 percent to save more than $1 million.
-- The 10th Aerospace Medicine Squadron changed the Academy cadet accession waiver review process from a paper process to an all-electronic process.
-- The 10th MDG's operating room supply technicians increased efficiencies in ordering and stocking surgical supplies which saved over $200,000.

"In conjunction with the other military medical treatment facilities in the Colorado Springs Multi-Service Market, there has been a savings of $66 million in the delivery of healthcare over the past fiscal year," he said. "These are just of a few of the ideas we've implemented so far and we'll continue to refine our processes and discover more ways to save dollars not only for the Academy, but for the American taxpayer."

The Make Every Dollar Count campaign continues this year. Airmen can submit their money saving ideas at