81st Medical Group


The 81st Medical Group operates one of the largest Air Force medical facilities in the Air Force. Its primary mission is to maintain medical readiness for worldwide contingencies by providing quality, cost-effective health care for more than 22,000 enrollees, including almost 4,500 active-duty members. In addition, the 81st MDG Commander is the Defense Health Agency’s Coastal Mississippi Market Director, coordinating care for 46,000 eligible beneficiaries along the Gulf Coast. The Commander also partners with the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System on joint venture initiatives to serve 70,000 Veterans.

The 81st Medical Group provides the most comprehensive array and quality of services available in the Gulf Coast area. TRICARE Prime is the DOD's premier program for delivering comprehensive health care. The Keesler Medical Center is clearly the best place to enroll for most all health care situations.

The 81st MDG has the fourth largest deployment platform in the Air Force Medical Service and second in AETC. On average, Keesler deploys more than 60 personnel annually in support of contingencies around the world as well as medical-deployment-for-training (humanitarian) missions. The Keesler hospital is also one of three Air Force medical facilities designated to support the National Disaster Medical System as a Federal Coordinating Center. They manage and maintain memorandums of agreement with 24 civilian medical facilities throughout the Gulf Coast.

The hospital offers almost 60 services and education programs with a staff of almost 1,700 military and civilian members. The hospital has seven newly-renovated surgery suites and a myriad of improvements throughout the ground floor including flood barriers on external doors and a re-alignment of high-dollar assets to floors above the basement level. Construction of a new $50+ million inpatient tower began in late 2009 and completed in September 2011. A new $10 million Radiation Oncology Center was completed in October 2009 and began treating patients in March 2010.

The hospital has 66 training affiliations with 35 different institutions/organizations to train medical physicians, technicians and nurses. The General Surgery residency program is integrated with the Naval Hospital Pensacola, Fla., and the 96th Medical Group at Eglin AFB, Fla., and has a long-standing integration program with the Biloxi VA.

The 81st MDG Hospital and VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System have been designated official DoD/VA joint venture partners. Titled "Centers of Excellence," this joint venture ensures enhanced federal health-care delivery along the central Gulf Coast by enhancing and combining certain clinical/administrative product lines shared by the Keesler hospital and the Biloxi VA campus.

The Keesler hospital opened its state-of-the art Family Birthing Center unit in January 2007. The unit offers large, airy rooms where women spend their entire stay throughout the delivery experience. They are light-filled, decorated with pastel colors and have wood floors. The medical equipment in the rooms is state-of-the art. Most important to mothers, the birthing center rooms have private bathrooms and each room has its own coastal theme. Babies stay with their mothers most of the time. In addition to the delivery rooms, there are also antepartum rooms for expectant mothers who experience medical problems early in their pregnancies, and two operating rooms for Caesarian deliveries.

The Keesler Warfighter Refractive Surgery Center is the Air Force's flagship for laser eye surgery in the Southeast. In addition, the Keesler hospital is a teaching facility with medical, surgical, and dental residencies, as well as physician assistant training and a Doctor in Nursing Practice program. Eight enlisted phase II training programs are also offered.

The 81st MDG is one of three Air Force medical facilities with formal clinical investigation programs specifically designated to facilitate clinical-based research and training that meets the needs of DOD medical readiness, force protection, clinical medicine, graduate medical education and homeland defense. The hospital's Institutional Review Board and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee currently oversee 88 research and training protocols. Training areas include neonatal intubation, emergency procedures for non-physicians, Special Operations damage control surgery and suturing techniques for dental officers. The Clinical Research Lab is actively pursuing integrated research with the Gulf Coast Veterans Administration Health Care System.

Furthermore, the medical group operates the only medical genetics center in the DoD. The USAF Medical Genetics Center provides laboratory and consultative support to military medical facilities around the world. Laboratory capabilities include chromosome, gene and DNA testing. Currently the laboratory performs 50,000 tests annually, a number that is growing rapidly.

For more information on Keesler Medical Center, please visit keesler.tricare.mil

(Current as of July 21, 2021)