JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander’s calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week.
If you have a question or concern, please send an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.
Q. In past years, sections/departments were allowed to temporarily close operations for “official functions” for holiday luncheons. Does this policy still exist for our wing?
A. Thank you very much for your question. I support 100 percent spending time with co-workers, especially during the holiday season, and our wing policy allows us to do just that while also maintaining our critical mission and support to our various mission partners.
If you would like to close your office temporarily during the holidays or for other special events, please route your request through leadership channels and include your plan for ensuring personnel and customers are provided adequate notice. Thank you for the hard work you do every day and Happy Holidays!
Q. I have a concern about the Security Forces personnel at the Valley Hi gates at JBSA-Lackland. One morning, a young Airman looked at my military ID and told me to “Have a good day, bubba.” My wife and I were in shock. I told him that is not the way to address anyone with a military ID. Within minutes, I called the Security Forces shift leader and reported the incident. Customer service skills are lacking on the gates.
A. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I sincerely apologize for your experience at the Valley Hi gate as customs and courtesies are foundational to our profession of arms and our Defenders take pride in demonstrating the utmost professionalism.
We have the best Defenders in the Department of Defense and your feedback is an important reminder that we only have one chance to make a first impression. Our team is committed to demonstrating proper customs and courtesies and treating everyone that comes through our gates with dignity and respect.
Q. I have been at JBSA for two years and noticed that individuals count it as a badge of honor to jump the chain of command and go directly to their higher-ups. How can that mindset be changed?
A. Thank you for sharing your concern. Rest assured, it should not be considered a badge of honor to jump the chain of command.
As supervisors, it’s our responsibility to foster a work environment where there is trust up and down the chain of command so that everyone feels connected, protected and respected. I will continue to work with our leadership team and front line supervisors to ensure our work force is comfortable bringing concerns to the chain of command without any worry of retaliation or reprisal.
Installation & Facilities
Q. The overnight drop box at the Firestone Complete Auto Care store (building 1070) at JBSA-Randolph is old and needs a slight modification so the modern key fobs can fit into the box.
Currently, the top slot is too narrow for the larger fobs to fit. A little sheet metal work would enlarge the slot without compromising security. I discussed this with the Firestone manager on duty and he said my observation is not the first time he has heard that.
It would also be nice to have a bench outside the entrance for those early morning customers to use while queuing up for the store opening.
A. Thank you for bringing these issues to our attention. AAFES is currently working to modernize the overnight drop box at Firestone. They are also looking into placing a bench for their customers to use while waiting for their vehicles. They are working to have the bench in place before the end of the month.
If you have additional suggestions to improve services at the Firestone Auto Care store or any of our other AAFES store fronts, the AAFES leadership team can be reached through the Customer Service desk inside the Base Exchange.
Q. In the Nov. 8 issue of the JBSA Legacy newspaper, it was stated in the Feedback Fridays column, in regard to confiscation of ID cards at the entry gate: “Another cause is the appearance of the member’s Social Security number; the newly issued cards no longer show the member’s social, and when an older card is found, the member must replace it in order to maintain security of the member’s identification.”
I am not aware of any prior publicity indicating the requirement to replace an otherwise-compliant ID card which still shows the Social Security number. I thought the replacement of such cards is optional. I have entered the base many times with my older card. Can you please clarify?
A. Thank you very much for your question, and I do apologize for your inconvenience. You are correct that replacing Social Security number-based identification cards before they expire is optional, per Department of Defense Instruction 1000.30, “Reduction of SSN Use Within DOD.”
Personnel may continue to use their ID cards with SSNs on them as long as the card is current. However, we do encourage replacement of ID cards with SSNs as a safety measure for the individual and the installation.
For more information, please call the 502d Security Forces Group Access Control Manager, John Gutierrez, at 210-652-5297.
Q. I cannot drive my 1986 Corvette through Growden Gate at JBSA-Lackland anymore because of the spikes. My car is 100 percent original and not modified in any way.
I come to a complete stop at the first speed bump and drive as slow as possible. The spikes drag the bottom of my car from front to back. Is there a reason they are mounted so high? If they were 4 inches high, as they are listed in the manufacturer's specs, I would not have a problem.
A. I sincerely apologize the installed spike strips are impacting your vehicle. Our recent gate projects were designed by an engineering firm using established criteria in both the Department of Defense’s Unified Facilities Criteria, or UFC, and guidance published by the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Transportation Engineering Agency.
The characteristics of the requirements for the project were coordinated with the 502d Air Base Wing Civil Engineering staff when the contract was awarded to install or upgrade. Before project acceptance, quality control inspectors ensured the installed equipment was within the contract specifications before government acceptance.
I greatly appreciate the JBSA community’s cooperation with these needed measures in today’s threat environment.
Q. It is extremely difficult to get a timely appointment at the medical group for my wife, who is active duty. I have an easier time getting appointments than she does and I’m a civilian.
Is there a way to improve the appointment wait times, especially for active duty personnel? My wife has been waiting more than three months to get her foot checked out. They kept saying the provider’s schedule was not out, so they could not book appointments.
Additionally, the follow-up care is sub-par. I had an MRI a while ago and it took forever to hear anything regarding my results. This is typical of the medical group here to not follow up. I’ve been here four years and this is the worst care I’ve ever received in my 15-year active duty/civil service career.
Part of that is because they demand the providers see 20 to 30 patients a day. The care is very impersonal and the providers are being pushed to see more patients, which leaves the patients feeling rushed and not getting the proper care. The San Antonio Military Health System just doesn’t seem to work as well as it should.
A. Thank you for taking the time to write in and we apologize for the inconvenience. The 59th Medical Wing is committed to providing exemplary patient-centered healthcare to our beneficiaries.
The family health clinic has been hovering around 65 to 70 percent manning for our primary care providers for several months, which has impacted the time it takes to get an appointment.
We have elevated this issue to the San Antonio Military Health System Enhanced Multi-Service Market, and we are working closely with them to potentially hire additional providers in addition to balancing some of our current provider staff across the 59th MDW and Brooke Army Medical Center as necessary.
We are in the processes of realigning our Air Force active duty beneficiary population to active duty-only primary care teams. This reorganization allows the 59th MDW team to ensure today’s Airmen are medically-ready to meet our nation’s call while still allowing us to balance the care of active duty families, retirees, veterans, and other beneficiaries.
With our PCMs focusing on a category of beneficiaries, we expect to see improvements in ease of access and continuity of care. The result will be an even more effective health care system that continues to ensure our beneficiaries receive the highest quality and safest care.
You can also reach your primary care team via secure messaging at www.tricareonline.com for non-urgent issues. This allows you to communicate all of your concerns/issues and allows the team the time to adequately prepare and address your needs (sometimes without an appointment).
Additionally, the Nurse Advice Line (1-800-TRICARE, option 1) is available 24/7 to provide triage and home care instructions.
Q. I am a retired Air Force officer and was wondering if something can be done about the extended waits at the JBSA-Randolph BX Pharmacy and the crowds of people in the waiting area?
I have observed lately that the crowds in the waiting area of the pharmacy have increased so much that you can hardly walk through the area to get to the BX.
I feel that this is a safety issue in the event the area had to be evacuated quickly which concerns me about the elderly patients waiting. In addition, with the increase of patients, there is an increase of wait times.
For instance, it took close to three hours yesterday to get some new prescriptions filled. I believe that the increase has been a result of “snowbirds” here in this area this time of year and because people are now using base pharmacies because TRICARE Express now charges for prescriptions.
A. Thank you for bringing this concern to my attention. As you noted, we have experienced an increase in foot traffic due to the increase in co-pays at off-base pharmacies.
However, we have not yet been able to secure additional pharmacy space and have been running at approximately 70 percent of our authorized manpower. The new pharmacy flight commander arrived in October and has several process improvement ideas that should help reduce the wait time to include an active volunteer program. So be on the lookout for some improvements in the near future!
Q. I PCSed to JBSA-Lackland from a remote assignment, which required me to hold off on seeking care for several medical issues that my previous location was unable to address.
Since arriving, I have experienced long wait times to get appointments to address the issues and then continued waits because of needing referrals.
I’ve noticed that there are signs up at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and the Dunn Dental Clinic stating there are manning issues, but from speaking with people that have been here for extended periods, these wait times have been commonplace and not something new.
Is there anything being done to address the manning issues so that people are not waiting more than 2-1/2 months to receive effective treatment?
A. Thank you for question. The 59th Medical Wing is committed to providing exemplary patient-centered healthcare to our beneficiaries. Our family health clinic has been hovering around 65-70 percent manning for our primary care providers for several months which has impacted the time it takes to get an appointment.
We have elevated this issue to the San Antonio Military Health System Enhanced Multi-Service Market. We are working closely with them to potentially hire additional providers in addition to balancing some of our current provider staff across 59 MDW and BAMC as necessary.
You can also reach your primary care team via secure messaging on www.tricareonline.com for non-urgent issues. This allows you to communicate all of your concerns/issues and allows the team the time to adequately prepare and address your needs (sometimes without an appointment). Additionally, the Nurse Advise Line (1-800-TRICARE, option 1) is available 24/7 to provide triage and home care instructions.
Q. Is it not a waste of time when two Air Force master sergeants – in uniform – spend more than 45 minutes in a visit to a clinic? Adding travel time to and from their duty stations, etc., this is easily one hour per master sergeant. My civilian spouse took our children to their assorted appointments, so that I could remain at work. Is one parent not sufficient anymore?
A. Thank you for taking the time to write in. A standard pediatric appointment typically takes 45 minutes to one hour, which includes check-in, vitals, exam/treatment, and closure. It could take additional time if other services (labs, immunizations, etc.) are required.
In rare instances, the provider may request for both parents to be present for an appointment; however, that is the exception, not the standard practice.
If you are willing to provide more details so that we can further look into your request, please reach out to our JBSA-Randolph Public Affairs office at RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil with your inquiry and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Q. I appreciate being able to use the JBSA-Randolph Pharmacy at the BX, but why do I need to spend two to three hours each time to pick up a refill when it’s just sitting on the shelf?
Most of the time, there is only one person on the refill pick-up window. I’ve also noticed that there are fewer volunteers working at the pharmacies.
I’m also wondering if it’s time for the fire marshal to come back and require them to do something about the area just packed with people waiting and no seating for them and the blocked hallways and doors. This has been going on for about a year now. Can something be done about it?
A. Thank you very much for sharing your concerns. The 59th Medical Wing is working hard to address the extended wait time at the JBSA-Randolph BX pharmacy.
We have experienced an increase in foot traffic due to the increase in co-pays at off-base pharmacies. However, we have not been yet been able to secure additional pharmacy space and have been running at approximately 70 percent of our authorized manpower. The new pharmacy flight commander arrived in October and has several process improvement ideas that should help reduce the wait time to include an active volunteer program.
Q. Are any of the installations still planning on hosting an air show next year?
A. Absolutely! We have a great team that is already planning for the next Air Show scheduled for Nov. 14-15, 2020. We’re looking forward to having a wonderful event for everyone to enjoy, and we hope to see you there!
Q. I have a question about the various food vendors that sell their food items around JBSA-Randolph. Do these vendors ever get inspected by AAFES, the Base Safety Office or the veterinarian office? I do not see any type of food grade sign in front of their vendor windows.
How do we know that the food items they are preparing and selling for our military and civilian personnel are fit for human consumption? Do we ever go into those vendors food vans/trucks and do a health inspection on them?
A. Thank you very much for your question on food safety for our team and their families.
All food vendors across JBSA receive an initial and periodic inspection by military public health, fire department and veterinary offices, to include ensuring the product is purchased from approved suppliers. AAFES also performs a periodic inspection of all their food vendors, where inspection information is maintained in their trucks.
In addition, per Air Force Manual 10-246, “Food and Water Protection Program,” Air Force installations – to include JBSA-Randolph/JBSA-Lackland/JBSA-Fort Sam Houston/JBSA-Camp Bullis – are regularly assessed by the Air Force to improve its food defense posture.
Q. The network on JBSA-Randolph is incredibly frustrating.
Access to the Internet is as bad if not worse than the days of dial-up. Many times clicking a link will execute the eternal spin along with slowly loaded pages, or will eventually return a “this site cannot be reached” message.
Email is also very unpredictable. It intermittently disconnects and we have experienced periods where it goes down for entire days. As technology advances, our network seems to become progressively dysfunctional.
Maybe our frustrations would be alleviated if we understood why we are experiencing this steady decline in network comm.
A. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I sincerely apologize for the frustration you experienced due to network latency at JBSA.
For an extended period in October, an enterprise-wide issue impacted the ability of multiple bases (including JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Lackland) to access the Internet.
Members of the 502d Communications Squadron worked with multiple Air Force Network Operations organizations, and other base communications squadrons to troubleshoot the latencies and outages in order to pinpoint the root cause.
While the continued migration to more efficient cloud-based technologies has provided many advantages (bigger email boxes, greater access to data, increased online collaboration, reduced operating costs), it does put a damper on operations when the connectivity to those tools is limited or has been cut off completely.
Our communication teams across the Air Force are working hard to reduce those degradations and identify innovative options to keep us connected. Those efforts include recent upgrades to the communications infrastructure equipment and increases in the bandwidth entering and exiting the installation to account for the increased use of web-based applications.
If you continue to have communications difficulties, please leverage the vESD toolset on your computer or contact the 502 CS at 210-925-2666 directly for assistance.