As of last year, there is a policy in place at Hill AFB in Utah that does not allow families to visit the medical clinic together. In practice, this means that a parent/caregiver has to find child care (even for babes in arms) in order to attend a well or sick visit for herself. It means that a parent cannot schedule consecutive well or sick visits for her children because siblings cannot come to the clinic together with only one parent. If a parent has more than one sick child, she must find a babysitter for those sick children so they can see the doctor one at a time, thereby exposing the babysitter and her family to illness. Because child care is not available at the medical clinic and other drop-in child care requires pre-registration and a two hour minimum charge, in addition to not allowing sick children to attend, and spouses have been discouraged from creating a child care co-op for liability reasons, frequently the active duty spouse must leave work to provide child care so that another member of this family can seek medical help. Spouses of deployed soldiers have no options.
This rule of not allowing families to visit the medical clinic together puts a terrible burden on young families, is inefficient, and causes lost work productivity in our armed forces when enlisted spouses are forced to take off work to provide superfluous child care. This is not reflective of medical practice on other bases or in the civilian world. And, sadly, the reality of the situation is that many of young military families will have to go without the medical benefits and care to which they are entitled because they do not have a support network in place, unless they choose the costly option of going to the Emergency Room. It is insulting to place this burden on the families of our enlisted, active duty men and women.
While noting that finding childcare for non-patients is often the best option, we recognize that this is sometimes not possible for these families. We demand that policy changes be made so that families with children on Hill AFB can use the medical clinic with ease and efficiency, and we demand that no patient be turned away from non-invasive medical care because a child or sibling must accompany the patient to a clinic appointment.
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