Headquarters USMEPCOM, North Chicago, IL –
It had only been a few months since U.S. Army Maj. Marsha Paul, nurse practitioner, retired and put away her uniform, but luckily, she did not pack it too far back into her closet. While checking her email, she saw an exciting opportunity to come back and work with the latest medical technology. Paul decided to return to assist with the Prescreen Support Coordination Center (PSCC). Paul is among nine retired Army doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners answering the call to come back on active duty to help review prescreens virtually.
“I felt it was a good opportunity and I wanted to come back and serve,” said Paul. “Everyone is enthusiastic and seems to appreciate what we are doing. That made me think I made the right choice.”
The nine officers, now considered USMEPCOM J-3/5/7 Operations directorate personnel, attend two weeks of training where they learn how to operate MHS GENESIS and its PSCC. They will then return home, where the virtual capabilities of MHS GENESIS allow them to remotely review medical prescreens for all 67 MEPS and RPS.
“The training for our new HQ providers is meant to be engaging,” said Dr. Ashley Jackson, Western Sector medical officer. “We are teaching them the broad strokes of how to complete a prescreen and they are filling in the blanks by taking notes. The best part of having them attend training here is the contacts they establish. Building that community, where they have each other to reach out to, is going to help them succeed.”
The PSCC was designed earlier this year to address backlogged medical prescreens. The new providers will be a significant resource as they benefit both MEPS personnel and applicants. MEPS locations can request a provider’s assistance with prescreens at the beginning of each day, or the providers can manually select prescreens to complete from a list. This virtual processing helps decrease the amount of time an applicant spends in the MEPS and shortens contact-to-contract time.
“This came together very quickly with help from the Army,” said U.S. Army Col. Kevin Cummings, USMEPCOM command surgeon. “The Army offered retiree utilization and funding for this recall to benefit all branches of service. At USMEPCOM, we worked to define the position description with what was needed. Then, the Army sent out the call to a specific set of recent retirees in an email database.”
The HQ team swiftly went into action to ensure providers would be on track before arriving for training. Sector medical officers worked with J-1 Human Resources Directorate to build and refine documents that walk providers through completing prescreens. J-6 Information Technology Directorate worked to grant computer access and establish IT support, J-4 Facilities, Physical Security and Logistics Directorate acquired the electronic equipment they would need, the Medical Modernization Team ensured the providers could access MHS GENESIS and J-3/5/7 coordinated the prescreen designation process.
Four Army Reserve Soldiers, through the Active Duty Operational Support (ADOS) program underwent training and are currently working as PSCC providers for the MEPS. The nine recalled officers will join them as providers as they complete staggered training by the end of 2022. These 13 personnel will work solely on medical prescreens for one year, with the possibility to extend up to three.
“We are really excited and we expect that they’ll do well,” said Cummings. “Those we have trained so far have been doing great. We are thankful for their willingness to come back and we are going to look to create permanent positions in the future.”