By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The retirement of a primary care manager at the Schriever clinic recently had senior leaders here preparing for longer waits, less appointments available and limited care while they waited for the arrival of a new lead family practice physician for the 21st Medical Squadron.
Originally assigned to another base, Maj. (Dr.) Joseph Huseman got the news that he would be assigned to Schriever Air Force Base after he had already started house hunting and making preparations elsewhere.
The change of plans didn’t slow Huseman down though. He changed gears and found a house in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Although he had the choice to take a longer amount of time arriving on station, the assignments officer mentioned Schriever was in need of another physician as soon as possible. That was all Huseman needed to hear.
“I tried to come out here as quickly as I could within reason,” he said. “Everything fell into place really quickly.”
Everything at the Schriever clinic was falling quickly into place as well after Huseman’s arrival nearly three weeks early.
“I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with the operations here,” he said. “Everything I’ve needed has been readily available.”
Huseman’s desire to quickly learn the ropes of the office has opened up 18 to 20 appointments that would not have existed without his early arrival.
Prior to this assignment, Huseman had been deployed three times to the Middle East and has participated and trained on air evacuation missions in a variety of airframes.
“Dr. Huseman has a great deal of experience with multiple previous deployments under his belt and several years serving as a flight surgeon,” said Lt. Col. Brent Sonday, 21 MDS commander. “His experience and training make him the perfect selection to fill the role of our new lead family practice physician for 21 MDS. Our new doc maintains all the key training and skills we look for in a provider today, especially when providing medical care in a satellite clinic such as ours. “
Huseman maintains certifications in Advanced Trauma Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Advanced Obstetric Life Support and C Stars.
All the certifications he has, though, do not highlight what he prides himself in most; getting to know his patients.
“I like to think that getting to know patients and quality of care are very important, but I feel for me, one of the most important things is establishing patient trust,” said Huseman. “If a patient doesn’t trust you, they are never going to bring forth everything in an appointment. When it comes down to it, it’s a team game between the patient and the physician.”
Getting to know patients is not only beneficial to a physician, but to the patient as well.
“In the first three to four months, you often see 80 to 90 percent of the patients you are going to see for the first time,” said Huseman. “It’s important that I take the time to get to know patients initially so that there are really good notes in the system that speed up future visits.”
Speeding up visits is also on the agenda for Huseman as he gets settled in. By pre-screening patient records the day before, he feels he is already increasing the amount of time spent addressing the problem patients have during their appointment.
“The Schriever team is thrilled to welcome such an experienced clinician to our stand-alone clinic,” said Sonday. “Dr. Huseman will no doubt provide outstanding experienced care for our tucked away population as we continue to focus on increasing patient services while decreasing time spent away from the mission.”