Written by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker
While the city of Kodiak, Alaska, including Coast Guard Base Kodiak, are nestled on America’s second largest island, the remoteness of the island presents quite a few obstacles in regards to providing specialty medical care a larger city or the lower 48 might take for granted.
To meet these obstacles the Kodiak Rockmore-King Clinic coordinated 1,922 requests for Travel to Obtain Healthcare and utilized a bi-monthly Coast Guard C-130 medical flight for 471 patients requiring specialty care throughout 2015.
“This clinic has been the model for health care excellence, and they have the right balance in reference to the training of the corpsman, the health services delivery model and the training for our community,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Aviles, Health Services Technician Rating Force Master Chief. “They’re the lead on a lot of the new innovations that we’re trying to create for our corpsman.”
During 2015, personnel assigned to the clinic spent 524 days on temporary duty (TDY) in support of Coast Guard operations that included the Coast Guard cutters Alex Haley, SPAR, Stratton, Healy and Sycamore, along with personnel that deployed to Arctic Shield, Operation South East Watch, Air Station Sitka, Base Ketchikan, 17th District, NATO Global Peace Initiative in Bangladesh, Joint Service Operation Dire Wolf and Navy Special Warfare Detachment Kodiak.
The corpsmen were also instrumental during medevacs as the aviation missions specialist stood ready duty crew during cases that included long-range land and sea rescues, boat and motor vehicle accidents, cardiac and respiratory care and pediatric evacuation from remote Alaskan villages.
The health service technicians and personnel that make up the Coast Guard medical clinic on Kodiak Island were named the 2015 Health Clinic Facility of the Year for their professionalism and patient care while dealing with the unique challenges of operating in a rural, geographically isolated community, along with the comprehensive care they provided to all Coast Guard assets patrolling the North Pacific and Bering Sea. The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding performance and contribution by a Coast Guard health care facility.
“Rockmore Clinic is one of the ones that I reach out to because their leadership is always leaning forward in preparing their corpsman for the next level,” said Aviles. “They are very innovative. They are ahead of the game. They are constantly reaching out to do TDY, to send corpsman to opportunities for experience. Those are the main ingredients to why this clinic stood out this year.”