31st Medical Group
Published April 24, 2009
The 31st Medical Group supports the readiness of 31st Fighter Wing and associated units throughout the Southern Region, ensuring the health of its community by providing optimal patient-focused medical care from internal, Department of Defense and Host Nation resources. The unit employs medical resources and preventive initiatives to ensure the human weapons system remains mission ready to support the Expeditionary Air Force, U.S. and NATO objectives worldwide.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Murphy A. Chesney, Air Force Surgeon General, dedicated the new Air Force clinic building on Sept. 4, 1987, which served the 40th Tactical Support Wing until it was re-designated on March 23, 1994. The 31st Medical Squadron became the 31st Medical Group Sept. 1, 1994, as part of the Objective Medical Group realignment. Initially, the group consisted of two squadrons -- the 31st Medical Operations Squadron and the 31st Medical Support Squadron. In December 1997, the 31st Dental Squadron and 31st Aerospace Medicine Squadron were activated. The 31st Medical Group has played an integral support role in the dramatic build-up that has taken place at Aviano since the Bosnian peacekeeping efforts began in 1994. Addressing the predominant "quality of life" concern of the expanding American community at Aviano, a first-of-its-kind joint-lease agreement was signed in August 1996 with the neighboring community of Sacile to lease two floors of their inpatient hospital. Massive renovations brought the leased wing to American regulatory standards. Milestones reached at Sacile included the opening of inpatient services in January 1997, the first surgery performed in November 1997, and the first baby delivered in December 1997. In addition to the successful completion of the Sacile project, the 31st Medical Group built and opened a state of the art health and wellness center, a new flight medicine clinic in Area F, and developed an extensive TRICARE Network consisting of more than 30 host nation providers and six local hospitals. The 31st Dental Squadron provides all aspects of general dentistry in addition to the following specialties: orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, and periodontics. The 31st Medical Support Squadron supplies the full range of ancillary support activities. The 31st Aerospace Medicine Squadron provides care for flyers and their families and runs the occupational health program. The 31st Medical Operations Squadron provides inpatient and outpatient adult and pediatric care, internal medicine, behavioral medicine, educational and developmental intervention services (EDIS) and general, orthopedic, obstetrics and gynecological surgical services. The latest accomplishment is the $32.6 million NATO-funded hospital. Construction began in 2001, and Phase 1 of the NATO hospital concluded in the summer 2005 with the relocation of the Sacile inpatient and outpatient medical operations as well as existing ancillary and administrative services in Aviano Air Base's Area 1. Phase 2 of the NATO hospital transformed and integrated the existing Aviano Air Base Clinic in Area 1 with the new NATO facility. Phase 2 was completed July 2006.