The 31st Medical Group at Aviano Air Base, Italy, is currently transitioning to an outpatient-only clinic. The transition will conclude Oct. 1, 2018.
“Despite what some may have heard, the entire clinic is not closing,” said Maj. Vanessa North, 31st Surgical Squadron flight commander. “We are slowly transitioning from overnight in-patient care to referring Aviano patients to Pordenone.”
The 31st MDG will continue to provide same-day treatments and services for patients. Any treatments or services, which require emergency services or overnight stays, will be handled in Pordenone.
A specific overnight service – giving birth – has also been a hot topic surrounding the transition. The 31st MDG Women’s Health section is now referring expectant mothers to off-base obstetricians. Same-day women’s health treatments and services, such as annual physicals, will still be available on base.
“We just had our first new delivery orientation for expectant mothers who will deliver their babies off base,” said North. “In the meeting, we explained how expectant mothers with a delivery due date after May 1, 2018, will have two medical options available to them.”
For all patients, these local options are Pordenone Civil Hospital and Policlinico San Giorgio, both in Pordenone.
“Patients should see almost no changes, as far as referrals go,” said Capt. Megan Howell, 31st Medical Support Squadron TRICARE and referral management officer in charge. “Before, new patients still needed referrals for in-house, 31st MDG, clinic care. Now, we will refer them to Pordenone.”
Upon visiting referral management, patients will choose which Pordenone hospital they would like to start treatments or services through.
“The difference between the two options is Policlinico San Giorgio doesn’t support high-risk pregnancies,” said North. “Pordenone Civil Hospital, which handles four times as many annual deliveries as the 31st MDG clinic, can manage riskier pregnancies and deliveries.”
For years, the 31st MDG referred expectant mothers with high-risk symptoms to the Pordenone Civil Hospital.
Howell is confident Aviano AB’s expectant mothers are in good hands and can expect the best treatment.
“We have liaisons who can help translate for patients, and we have a great host-nation relationship with the off-base clinics,” added Howell. “The change should be seamless, and Policlinico San Giorgio has staffed a whole new team to support our expectant mothers.”
North reminds patients the changes only affect out-patient treatments and services. All same-day treatments and services can still be completed on-base.