Robins moving 'FAST FORWARD,' flight line clinic is AF first

The new 2,000-square-foot clinic will allow those who work in industrial areas of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex access to health professionals, notably within a few minutes’ walk from most work sites. (U.S. Air Force photo by Raymond Crayton/Released)

The new 2,000-square-foot clinic will allow those who work in industrial areas of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex access to health professionals, notably within a few minutes’ walk from most work sites. (U.S. Air Force photo by Raymond Crayton/Released)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga --  A permanent medical facility - the first of its kind in the Air Force - is now open in Bldg. 49 on the flight line.

It's called the medical FAST FORWARD facility which stands for First Aid Station, Treatment, and Forward Operating Rehabilitation of Workers Accentuating Restorative Dynamics.

The 2,000-square-foot centralized location allows employees who work in industrial areas of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex access to health professionals, within a few minutes' walk from most work sites.

"The accessibility and convenience of an employee coming here for treatment will be unparalleled," said Col. (Dr.) Michael Rappa, Occupational Medicine Services chief. "Most of the services that are offered by OMS in Bldg. 207 can also be offered here. We want to provide as much as we can, and deliver it as close to the employee as possible."

The facility has six staff members, including a nurse practitioner and three rehabilitation specialists who are certified athletic trainers. Having sports rehab specialists on site is significant since in occupational medicine, more than 50 percent of injuries seen result in musculoskeletal types of injuries, said Rappa.

"The sports rehab specialist is really a provider who specializes in acute musculoskeletal injuries, giving initial treatment to employees so conditions are resolved more quickly and safely," he added.

Services provided will be preventive health education, acute care for workplace injuries, work-related rehabilitation for musculoskeletal conditions (such as back and shoulder injuries), medical exams, follow-up injury care and aftercare conditioning programs.

Offering quicker, more responsive high-quality assessments and initial evaluations for employees will have a huge return on investment, since care offered onsite will result in less waiting, saving time and money for employees who usually travel off base.

"We are bringing healthcare to the customer, to the flight line - bringing the right care to the right place at the right time," said Col. James Dienst, 78th Medical Group commander. "It sounds easy, but it's never been done."

Another unique service the facility can provide is hands-on visibility with how employees do their jobs. Seeing what employees do and how they perform their work gives the staff a better understanding of the workplace.

"We're then better able to provide treatment to help them recover," said Rappa. "What we really want to do is be that preferred provider for occupational injury care and prevention. This is a giant step in that direction, providing services that employees just can't get elsewhere."

Production employees previously visited temporary facilities in Bldg. 110.

Hours will be from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Rehab services will be offered from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. A medical provider will be on site from 12:30 to 9:30 p.m. For information, call 926-2038.

Hours will be convenient for all shifts, especially for employees working overlapping shifts who may need to come in during early morning hours when the clinic opens at 8 a.m. The clinic is open to all WR-ALC civilian employees. Those without flight line access can call to make arrangements for pick up.

A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Tuesday.