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Air Force Inspectors: 131st Medical Group is 'Outstanding'

Col Joanie Peterson, Commander of the 131st Medical Group, Missouri Air National Guard, unveils the overall Health Services Inspection results during a commander’s call June 2, 2013 at the Whiteman Air Force Base clinic.  Although the average rating is a Satisfactory, the unit garnered the rare rating of “Outstanding.”  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Dampf).

Col Joanie Peterson, Commander of the 131st Medical Group, Missouri Air National Guard, unveils the overall Health Services Inspection results during a commander’s call June 2, 2013 at the Whiteman Air Force Base clinic. Although the average rating is a Satisfactory, the unit garnered the rare rating of “Outstanding.” (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Dampf).

WHITEMAN AFB., Mo -- During the June unit training assembly at Whiteman Air Force Base, the 131st Medical Group, Missouri Air National Guard, earned the highest possible rating for their 2013 Health Services Inspection.

"Our Air Reserve Component units are held to the same standards as their active duty counterparts," said Col Lori Lee, HSI Team Chief from the Air Force Inspection Agency. "It's not easy to pass and earning an outstanding is remarkable, especially after the huge challenges this unit has endured!"

Col Joanie Peterson, commander for the 131st MDG, and her HSI working group, have been leading the preparation for the inspection for eighteen months.

This inspection, known to be one of the most detailed and hardest inspections to pass in the medical field, included over 400 elements that require copious amounts of documentation to support ongoing compliance.

"I could not be more proud of you," said Col Michael Francis, commander of the 131st Bomb Wing, as he addressed the medical group after the results were announced. "You have gone above and beyond your regular duties and achieved something you can all be very proud of."

Though the inspection was due in 2011, because of a change in mission from the F-15 Eagle to the B-2 Spirit, which resulted in a relocation of the wing to Whiteman AFB, and a tornado that destroyed the medical group building, the inspection was extended to June of 2013.

In addition to the challenge to logistically moving the 73-member group to their new primary location at Whiteman AFB, they still support units on the east side of Missouri, totaling 1,200 Air National Guard members at two separate locations which are located approximately 200 miles apart.

"The greatest challenge is that we are geographically spread across the state, and as a result are only able to service each location six months out of the year," said Peterson.

Preparing for the inspection under these circumstances was no easy task according to Peterson. "We carted documents back and forth in the trunks of our cars and our drill weekends started earlier and ended later than a normal duty day."

To prepare, Peterson said the first thing she did was look at the results from the HSI in 2008, so she knew where to focus. "Then the tornado hit," she said. "It shifted us to survival mode and my priority had to be finding a place to operate, then to rebuild.

But, we nailed it. There was no luck - just hard work and dedication."

The purpose of the inspection was to improve the quality of health care delivered by an organization. They are conducted every three years to provide senior Air Force leadership with accurate data upon which to base policy decisions, as well as give medical units a thorough, accurate assessment of their ability to fulfill their peacetime and wartime missions.

Four Active Duty Inspectors reviewed medical/deployment, records, wing medical processes, Nursing Services, Bioenvironmental services, Laboratory Services, Optometry services, Public Health, unit education, enlisted upgrade and medical readiness training--all aspects that make up the Medical Group.

The Group's nursing services, self-inspection, and medical readiness programs were each complemented by the inspection team as being benchmarks for other states.

Airmen within those programs were personally awarded for their outstanding performance by the inspection team and recognized by wing leadership.

Outstanding Performers:
Capt. Deborah Fahr
Tech. Sgt. David Stanglein
Tech. Sgt. Luis Ramos-Nieves
Staff Sgt. Anthony Rich
Senior Airman Courtney Nash