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Keesler is Air Force's first base with inpatient operations squadron

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Keesler's newest squadron stood up Jan. 11 to join the 81st Medical Group's other five units.
The 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron joins the 81st Medical Operations, Surgical Operations, Medical Support, Aerospace Medicine and Dental Squadrons as Keesler Medical Center continues to increase patient services since being devastated by Hurricane Katrina nearly 17 months ago.
Lt. Col. Thomas Roshetko assumed command in a ceremony officiated by Brig. Gen. (Dr.) James Dougherty, 81st MDG commander.
According to Lt. Col Steven Reese, 81st Medical Support Squadron commander, the 81st MDG is the first medical unit in the Air Force to stand up an inpatient operations squadron.
"We're finding all the challenges involved with the process," he said.
He also ensures that the change is transparent to the medical center's patients.
The 81st IPTS absorbs personnel from the Medical Operations and Surgical Operations squadrons. The new squadron consists of three flights: the critical care flight, responsible for the intensive care and cardiac care units; the multiservice flight, which oversees the inpatient medical surgical and surgical units; and the maternal/child care flight, which includes inpatient obstetrics and the neonatal intensive care units.
Creation of the new squadron is part of the newly-instituted Air Force Medical Service flight path concept developed over the past two years. In May 2004, then-Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper in his letter, "Developing Expeditionary Medics -- A Flight Path," tasked the Air Force surgeon general to "complete a comprehensive review of the medical group structure for our garrisoned and expeditionary medical groups." This resulted in the flight path now being instituted Air Force-wide.
Within the 81st MDG, in addition to creating the new squadron, all ancillary services -- radiology, clinical laboratory, nutritional medicine and pharmacy -- move from the 81st MDSS to the 81st MDOS.
Also, the flight path formally establishes a training division at the group staff level that encompasses all graduate medical education activities and the clinical research laboratory.
The new concept provides enhanced force development opportunities for Nurse Corps officers by specifying the 81st IPTS commander billet as Nurse Corps-specific.
The 81st IPTS commander, who's been selected for promotion to colonel, came to Keesler from Hurlburt Field, Fla., where he commanded the 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron.
Colonel Roshetko entered the Air Force in January 1986 through a direct commission. His career assignments included the nurse internship program, multiple inpatient units, emergency room nurse, writing the original Region VII Tricare contract, lead agency utilization/quality management consultant and Air Mobility Command command surgeon executive officer and flight commander.
At Peterson AFB, Colo., he was responsible for the implementation of the Air Force Medical Service population health policy, including health care optimization and health promotion. He co-authored the new Air Force fitness policy and served as Air Force Space Command deputy chief nurse and deputy of the medical operations division.
At Hurlburt Field, Colonel Roshetko commanded 240 personnel serving 17,000 beneficiaries, including 7,600 active-duty members. In addition, he was responsible for medical oversight of 4,000 annual special operations deployments.