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Let’s talk: Patient-centered goal at Madigan

Northwest Guardian

Published: 10:24AM August 15th, 2014

Madigan Army Medical Center’s patient-centered approach now begins with an open, quarterly dialogue.

A first-of-its-kind town hall meeting called “Conversations with Madigan” started the information exchange with patients and customers Tuesday and will be ongoing every three months. Madigan leaders were encouraged by the turnout, and will actively encourage more Tricare beneficiaries to attend, engage in conversation, and receive immediate feedback.

Commander of Madigan Col. Ramona Fiorey answered questions alongside experts in diverse health care areas about pharmacy, pediatrics, OBGYN and behavioral health issues.

“For some time, we have wanted to have town hall meetings so we can find out what our patients feel about the care, and create a patient experience that they want and deserve when they come to Madigan,” Fiorey said.

The “conversations” event consisted of question-and-answer segments followed afterward by one-on-one interactions with specialists.

“There’s no substitute for face-to-face contact with your patients, and for them to see who is actually providing their care,” Fiorey said.

Patient-centered talk

Fiorey said since May, Madigan’s pharmacy has been working hard to bring down the wait times.

“There are changes in technology and software programs, and it works very well,” Fiorey said.

Although Fiorey noted the staff has worked through some issues with the new system, they’ve learned from them and made improvements.

During the open dialogue conversation, a popular topic was patients being wait-listed for appointments on the network.

Madigan leaders acknowledged occasional long waits times and that those delays were clinic-specific, but that improvements would become apparent in the next few months.

A few attendees asked if they would still be able to come to Madigan for care if they moved farther away from base. Major Michael Henry, chief of managed care and Tricare operations at Madigan, said as long as Tricare beneficiaries remain within an hour drive time from Madigan and sign a drive-time waiver, they can continue primary care at Madigan.

The reason there’s an hour drive-time rule is for continuity, Henry said.

“If they live over an hour away and need an urgent appointment, very few people would be able to make that drive under urgent clinical needs,” Henry said. “Those driving distances keep the patient (and primary care) in mind.”

Other popular topics included services for military retirees.

Fiorey said the medical center is working with leaders in the medical community to solve those issues and find answers. With recent national attention on veterans’ care, staff members are confident there will be adjustments to improve timeliness and quality of their care.

“We have been asking retirees to come back to us,” Fiorey said. “We took care of retirees for a while and when we went to war, we asked retirees to go to others because we had to take care of a lot of active duty members. Madigan is committed to taking care of retirees and retirees’ family members. It would not be truthful for me to say it will always be this way because we don’t mandate that. But we’ve made it clear to retirees that we are loyal and happy you're giving us another chance to take care of you.”

Pharmacy representatives said requests for prescription refills can now be made online at

clinical/pharmacy/Refills.aspx. If the online link doesn’t work for any reason, Madigan representatives asked to be contacted so they can quickly resolve technical issues.

If attendees had personal issues but didn’t want to speak publicly or personally with anyone about it, they were invited to write details on comment cards, which would be answered within five days.

Future Madigan quarterly town hall meeting locations will include McChord Field, Lewis North and other Lewis Main sites in order to achieve maximum patient participation and engagement.

The next town hall meeting is scheduled for October, but no date, location or topic has been set.

For more information, visit Facebook at “Madiganhealth,” its Twitter page “@madiganhealth,” website at www.mamc.amedd. or call Madigan’s Public Affairs Office at 968-1901.