Twice a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors take a physical fitness test. Once a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors go through a battery of medical checks to ensure it won’t have Sailors drop dead during this test. Pretty straight forward.
Except when you move to a new command, which Navy Sailors do on average every 3 years. In my case, I moved over a month ago. I wasn’t permitted to hand carry my medical records (that’s too dangerous!!), so instead I gave the medical people a form so that they could request my records be transferred to them. If it sounds antiquated to you, you’re not the only one.
But it gets worse.
It’s been over a month, and no record. None. That medical check the Navy does for physical fitness? Can’t complete it without a record. Technically, if I don’t complete it, I automatically fail the physical fitness test. So instead of being able to knock out a requirement and move on to more important things, I’m having to swing by the clinic once a week to see if they have my record.
(Side note: My command is aware and won’t let me fail over a silly administrative issue)
Our Chief of Staff held an all-hands meeting, and I raised the issue there. To my surprise, three other Sailors said they had the same problem. One hadn’t seen her medical record in a year. Our Command Master Chief is trying to do something about it, but I don’t know how much she can fix.
When President Trump announced he wanted to improve medical record interoperability, as well as pushing to get to 100% electronic records, I was ecstatic. Moving records back and forth is a big issue for military members. It just plainly sucks, and the service leaders have done a terrible job in fixing the issues. If you want to make military members smile, improving the routine medical visits we have to make would be a good start.
Fixing the medical record problem on the civilian side is good too. We pay too much for health care, and a big part is the administrative burden in record keeping, code entering and the like. Cutting those costs gets doctors back to focusing on patients and what they love and away from the administrative headaches that only truly evil bureaucrats enjoy foisting on the rest of us.
In the words of a great person, faster please!
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. But it would be GREAT if the DoD held my above view and fixed our medical record problems.
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