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News | June 29, 2022

MEPCOM Hones Virtual Capabilities

By Derrik Noack

After years of work, MHS Genesis finally launched at all of USMEPCOM’s 67 processing stations in March. Although the official implementation of the new system has passed, personnel at USMEPCOM are still optimizing its capabilities to process applicants even more efficiently.

“As with any new system, you are going to have bugs that have to be worked out, but it was extraordinarily successful,” said U.S. Army Col. Megan Stallings, USMEPCOM commander. “One of the great capabilities of MHS Genesis is its virtual capabilities. We have MEPS in New Mexico that are supporting and doing work for MEPS in North Carolina. That capability alone is helping us be greater teammates across our force.”

During the MHS Genesis soft go-live at 12 of the command’s 67 processing stations, medical prescreen backlogs began to develop. The backlog continued to build after launch due to a 150-200% increase in prescreen submissions. USMEPCOM personnel quickly began developing a solution to the issue. The solution was the Prescreen Support Coordination Center (PSCC). The PSCC was designed to streamline the prescreen review process by leveraging physicians with low floor counts against prescreen requirements in MEPS with high workloads and/or minimal doctor staffing.

“We were looking for solutions to address prescreen backlogs that had developed at some of the 12 MHS Genesis soft go-live MEPS,” said Will Reinhart, director, J-3/5/7 operations. “Knowing that Genesis offered the ability to remotely log into a MEPS business from another location, the concept of using healthy Fee Basis Provider (FBP) pools in some locations to remotely support MEPS without those assets seemed like a promising concept.”

The PSCC allows Sector medical doctors and representatives to coordinate, task and track FBPs USMEPCOM wide. A provider at a MEPS with fewer applicant prescreens can now remotely assist MEPS with more prescreens. This allows local MEPS to use all available resources throughout USMEPCOM, not just those local to their own MEPS.

“The PSCC is open to all MEPS/RPS,” said PSCC Officer in Charge U.S. Army Capt. Sarah Milton, processing chief, J-3/5/7 operations. “There is no limit to who can request assistance and who can utilize the resource. The PSCC assigns extra FBPs from their home MEPS to sign into another MEPS virtually through MHS Genesis and adjudicate complex prescreens in the review process.”

Those complex prescreens, meaning an applicant has had moderate to significant medical treatment or pre-existing conditions, are divided into two bins. A moderate prescreen is placed in a five-day bin, and a significant prescreen is placed in a 10-day bin. This process is designed to decrease the amount of time spent in the physical exam room, with doctors using prescreen outcomes to facilitate their questioning and visual examinations. It is also an improvement in the prescreen review process timeline, which is now expected to take place within 10 days, vice 30 days as it was prior to MHS Genesis deployment.

“Virtual processing decreases the amount of time spent in the MEPS per applicant and overall for each service,” said Milton. “The PSCC decreases the need for traveling to MEPS from remote locations and shortens the amount of time in between when an applicant makes the decision to join and when they raise their right hand.”

The PSCC is another step in USMEPCOM’s modernization efforts, and supports the move to paperless processing. The PSCC was successful in clearing up the initial prescreen backlog, which went from 1,231 prescreens awaiting initial HRA registration on March 14 to 175 on April 5. The virtual support has already helped process 15,317 applicants as of June 17, and now averages more than 200 a day. As capacity of the PSCC increases, USMEPCOM plans to have remote providers with a sole responsibility of ensuring applicants are qualified for joining the armed forces.

“As technology and our understanding of MHS Genesis capabilities improves, we can expand remote processing support to other points in the prescreen workflow to gain even greater time efficiencies,” said Reinhart.