Clinic unveils 61,000 'new' square feet
By Ken Carter , Academy Spirit editor
/ Published January 28, 2010
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- A ribbon cutting at the Academy Clinic Jan. 22 highlighted some 61,000 square feet of new and improved operations throughout the facility's third and fourth floors.
The $25-million project allows the 10th Medical Group staff to consolidate several medical services from the Milazzo Community Center into the main clinic, said Col. Kenneth Knight, the 10th MDG commander.
Former inpatient rooms became clinics and administrative spaces. The old emergency room became a new women's health clinic, with the old women's health clinic becoming a new allergy and immunization clinic. Workers also renovated the radiology space.
The clinics are designed for efficiency and provide more examination rooms per provider. The project also allowed the staff to expand the sleep lab from four to six beds for this highly demanded service. A new gastroenterology clinic is also the result of the renovation.
The Academy Clinic boasts a higher level of customer service following the renovation, Colonel Knight said.
"Consolidating all clinics into the main facility means patients no longer have to travel for ancillary services, are closer to specialty clinics, and allow us to better care for them," the colonel said.
All Academy surgeons are credentialed at both Memorial and Penrose-St. Francis hospitals in Colorado Springs and take inpatient surgeries downtown as well as perform ambulatory surgery at the Academy.
The 10th Medical Group has the only standalone ambulatory surgery capability in the Air Force. Its unique focus on sports medicine in both orthopedics and the cadet clinic offer a unique opportunity for Air Force fellowship rotations, Colonel Knight said.
The clinic has a jump start on turning green as the spring of the New Year approaches. The renovation project itself has a green focus, taking advantage of natural light to decrease energy requirements. With only a few sheetrock walls, the fourth floor is built primarily with moveable walls allowing for future flexibility.
The 10th MDG also has more than 700 personnel assigned including officers, enlisted members, civilians, and contract staff running on an annual operating budget of $54 million.
"This is considerably larger than any other Air Force clinic, due to the robust medical and surgical specialty services as well as our ambulatory surgery capability," Colonel Knight said. The clinic also provides teleradiology support to 11 other clinics and telepathology support to one other.
A clinic environment presents some limits on treatment, but the clinic still offers most of the former services provided by the Academy Hospital prior to the Base Realignment and Closure actions in 2008.
"We still have all our primary care clinics, specialty medicine and ambulatory surgery services," Colonel Knight said. Patients who need emergency or inpatient care must seek care at Evans Army Medical Center on Fort Carson or at a hospital in Colorado Springs.