AMSUS session explores ways to have military medics and corpsmen transfer to civilian service | Health.mil
AMSUS session explores ways to have military medics and corpsmen transfer to civilian service
Dr. Vivek Murthy (left), U.S. Surgeon General, chats with (clockwise from top) Navy Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general; Dr. Richard Thomas, president at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; and Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director, Defense Health Agency, before a session at the AMSUS (The Society of Federal Health Professionals) 2016 meeting on Nov. 30, 2016, at National Harbor near Washington, D.C.
TWo of the largest job specialties in the military are the services’ medics and corpsmen, the troops who serve as emergency medical technicians of the battlefield. But despite the in-demand nature of what they do and the high quality they deliver, many of these skilled health care providers struggle to have those valuable skills recognized and transferred into the civilian medical sector. The Military Health System is working with other federal agencies and private industry to change that.
“The skills our medics and corpsmen possess are not only transferable, but needed in the civilian sector,” said Dr. Richard Thomas, president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). Thomas is a retired Army major general, military doctor and dentist. “When you think of these men and women doing these duties, many of them also have combat duty, a great catalyst for enhancing and furthering medicine. Being able to transfer that to civilian medicine is exactly the right thing to do.”
Thomas was in the audience listening to a panel session at the AMSUS (The Society of Federal Health Professionals) 2016 meeting going on this week at National Harbor near Washington, D.C. The discussion included how to get those medics and corpsmen recognized within civilian medicine. While enlisted medics and corpsmen do have programs available at his school to become medical officers, some don’t want to go that route but want to continue serving in their emergency medical technician capacity; they just want to do it in the civilian world. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials agree military medical technicians should be able to go the civilian route.
“We want to prove to our civilian health systems that medics and corpsmen can perform extremely well doing the same types of skills and providing the same services [as their civilian counterparts],” said Dr. Jennifer Lee, deputy undersecretary for Health for Policy & Services at the VA. “I think it’s just a matter of educating civilians in the health care system about [service members’] great skills. It’s a no brainer.”
Thomas liked what he heard during the AMSUS session. He said letting more of the medics and corpsmen move into civilian medical jobs allows these people to continue to serve their country, despite hanging up the uniform.
“They all raised their hands to serve in the military. And when they did that, the American people wrote a blank check to underwrite that service. So this is a way for those who were in the military to give back,” said Thomas. “It’s really a return on investment for American medicine.”