Medical Group Receives 'Excellent' Rating
By Senior Airman Ryan Kuntze, 128th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published November 20, 2011
MILWAUKEE -- After a five-day review process, the 128th Air Refueling Wing Medical Group received an Excellent rating for its Health Services Inspection on Sunday, November 20, 2011.
Inspector Generals with the Air Force Inspection Agency conducted a comprehensive review of the medical group, its personnel and files, and its day-to-day operations, said Col. Eileen Panacek, commander of the medical group.
The inspectors reviewed three to five years of documentation, said Lt. Col. Jim Silvasy, the project officer during the inspection. In total, 742 inspection items, 41 accountable elements, 219 documents and programs, 58 medical records, and 24 dental records came under the inspectors' scrutiny, said Silvasy.
"They have a guide, the HSI guide, for what they look for," said Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Marrero. "It's like an open-book test."
"[The HSI] is one of the major things all wing commanders are worried about," Silvasy said.
Col. Ted Metzgar, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, shared Lt. Col. Silvasy's opinion.
"This is an inspection no one looks forward to," Col. Metzgar said. He further explained that the overwhelming amount of paperwork and effort were paramount difficulties during the inspection, but the capable medical group professionals did a great job.
Col. Panacek added that, over the last two to three years, the trend among other units has been to receive unsatisfactory or marginal reviews.
"[The Excellent rating] reflects all the hard work we do here," Col. Panacek said. The review's outcome is also a testament to the dedication, motivation, and work ethic of all the medical group people, she said.
Brig. Gen. John E. McCoy, Wisconsin's assistant adjutant general for Air, visited the 128th Air Refueling Wing during the medical group's final day of inspection.
"This was an outside agency coming to check our records," Gen. McCoy said. "It's a testament to our process. Unsatisfactory and marginal [ratings] are normal; to be above that bar is outstanding."
Chief Master Sgt. Marrero also saw the promising outlook of the Excellent rating.
"Now that we're here, other units will look to us for advice to improve their programs," Marrero said.
Beyond the medical group's Excellent rating, several individuals were recognized for their specific contributions. Staff Sgt. Samantha Swager, Master Sgt. Kimberly Craddock, and 1st Lt. Kelly Iloncaie-Zelenski received Outstanding Performance Awards for their efforts during the inspection. Lt. Col. Silvasy received special recognition in the form of a military challenge coin from the Air Force inspection team for his role in the inspection process.
"I was surprised to receive [special recognition] because there were so many other medical people who were involved in the inspection," Silvasy said. "It was an honor, but there were also many people with major programs who contributed so much."
Col. Panacek also embraced the 128 ARW's medical group's teamwork.
"This is a team-building process," she said. "You have to give [the medical group] the right tools, point them in a direction, and let them go. The vision of the medical group is to be the best med group in the Air National Guard."
Lt. Col. Silvasy said that he was impressed with the medical group's hard work. He said there are many different parts of the group, and if one part breaks down, the whole thing is broken. The Excellent rating is assurance that the medical group is, as a whole, working as a coherent and productive team.
Echoing Silvasy's comments, Marrero said, "[The inspection's] result was clarification that everything works."
The medical group knew of the Health Service Inspection 18 months from the inspection date, and it was officially notified 90 days before the inspectors arrived. Following the Exellent rating, the 128th Air Refueling Wing Medical Group's next HSI won't arrive until the middle of the decade rather than next year.