Airlifter of the week: Behind the medical curtain

The 86th Airlift Wing recognized Tech. Sgt. Tamara Brown, 86th Medical Support Squadron patient administration section chief, as Airlifter of the Week, Jan. 28, 2021.

By Senior Airman Jennifer Gonzales 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs Ramstein Air Base, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany Feb 05, 2021
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The 86th Airlift Wing recognized Tech. Sgt. Tamara Brown, 86th Medical Support Squadron patient administration section chief, as Airlifter of the Week, Jan. 28.

While the medical practice may involve life-saving surgeries or ambulances racing down the highway, they aren’t the entire story. Plenty of administrative effort goes on behind the scenes to support medical providers.

Brown herself effectively led 13 staff members while she oversaw three work centers and 102 patient administration programs. She streamlined the processing of 14,000 outpatient records, 319 physical evaluation board cases, and a $500,000 budget for the Air Force’s second-largest patient movement office, which covers a 32 million square mile area of responsibility in support of 39 countries and 76 locations.

“We took a down day,” Brown explained. “We came in on a Saturday for our yearly audit and went through our records, all 14,000 of them. Everyone took a section and it was kind of like a workshop going on in here. My team definitely put a lot of work in.”

Additionally, Brown led the group’s COVID-19 vaccine administration cell by facilitating the registration of restriction-of-movement personnel for COVID-19 testing and expedited the delivery of negative notifications.

“As soon as COVID kicked off, I believe the initial process was that people were having to quarantine for the full duration,” she said. Later on during the pandemic, Host Nation rules changed and allowed people to test out early.

“What my team does is make sure they’re fully registered in the system and processes their negative notifications as soon as the provider contacts us,” Brown said.

Furthermore, Brown co-led the administration support and functionality for the flu and COVID-19 vaccine lines. She ensured members were properly trained and 18 positions were manned during daily operations, which resulted in thousands of personnel being immunized.

“It was a lot,” Brown laughed. “I know for the flu line back in October when we initially kicked it off for the active-duty members; we were going to the 86th Security Forces Squadron as a mobile team and making sure they were completely vaccinated. We stayed after work and put in those hours to make sure those units were taken care of.”

Finally, as the 86th Airlift Wing’s Combined Federal Campaign project officer, she led 120 key workers and developed a pandemic-proof contact plan to engage 115,000 personnel, which resulted in contributions of more than $75,000.

“So, I’ll tell you right now, being the CFC representative for the wing, especially for Ramstein, is huge,” Brown said. “We represented the United States Air Forces in Europe and showed that even during hard times, we still lead. It was definitely a good experience to step out and do something different. It helped me grow as a person, especially with this being my first year at Ramstein.”

It’s in all of these processes where Brown says teamwork really counts.

“I think [it comes down to] making sure our team is [united]; one team, one fight,” Brown explained. “We ensure everyone understands what our role is in this, the dedication to the job we have, doing what we have to do to make sure that we, as a support squadron, are supporting the mission.”