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MTANG Medical Group Receives Excellent Rating During Inspection

Great Falls, Mont.- (Left to right) Col. Gerald Wiest congratulates the commander of the 120th Medical Group, Col. Mark Snyder, upon the group's completion of a Health Services Inspection.  (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Great Falls, Mont.- (Left to right) Col. Gerald Wiest congratulates the commander of the 120th Medical Group, Col. Mark Snyder, upon the group's completion of a Health Services Inspection. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Great Falls, Mont. -- The 120th Medical Group of the Montana Air National Guard received an overall rating of "excellent" during their Health Services Inspection conducted approximately every five years. The 5-day inspection was carried out from 4-8 November.

"This rating validates the quality of care we provide to our Airman", said 120th Medical Group Commander, Col. Mark Snyder. "I am extremely proud of everyone in the medical group that came together to showcase our high caliber of medical care."

The inspection assesses a myriad of items including; medical readiness, management effectiveness, quality of health-care delivery, and how effective the health-care provider and the nurses perform while maintaining readiness.

"Preparing for the unknown was the toughest part of the inspection," said Capt. Wendy Lund, who serves as the officer-in-charge of the immunization clinic. "The inspection guideline provides general guidance of what the inspector may ask, but until it actually happens you're on pins and needles anticipating the questions." Capt. Lund is a full-time surgical nurse in Livingston, Mont.

Inspectors spend relatively little time at each clinic or hospital they evaluate. Units tagged for inspection are required to provide mounds of files, records and documentation immediately upon arrival to the unit. This process enables the inspection team to go work reviewing processes, programs and data without delay.

Staff Sgt. Ricky Tiernan, who serves in the MTANG as the non-commissioned officer -charge of immunizations and also at Malmstrom AFB as a nurse in the personnel reliability program, collected numerous amounts of data and statistics for the inspectors. "The inspectors very much liked what we do to ensure accuracy," said Sergeant Tiernan. "The immunization program scored high marks for patient safety."

"Our goal was to maintain the same high levels of performance on an ongoing basis, it is our own expectation of ourselves," said the 120th Health Systems Supervisor, Chief Master Sgt. Tom Meredith. "The execution of this particular inspection was especially challenging due to the high operations tempo the 120th Medical Group experienced."
Over the past 15-months, the 120th Medical Group participated in a deployment for training to Aviano Air Base, Italy, completed Expeditionary Medical Support training at the combat readiness center in Alpena, Mich.

Additionally, they have deployed eight personnel in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, participated in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear challenge exercise, operational readiness exercises and major accident response exercises. The capstone of their work has been the support to more than 100 MTANG Airmen as they've deployed in support of AEF and ECS operations.

Airmen recognized for outstanding performance during the inspectors out-brief were; Master Sgt. Norene Rash, dental assistant, Tech. Sgt. Michael Pearson, training specialist, Staff Sgt. Angelica Knecht, medical services craftsman, and Staff Sgt. Eric Strubeck, the wing self-aid and buddy care advisor.

The 120th Medical Group serves as an essential link to the Montana Air National Guard's conversion process from the F-16 Falcon to the F-15 Eagle. The unit will be fully-mission capable to perform its F-15 combat operations approximately mid-2010.
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