JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
An event that debuted last week at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Medical Clinic is giving beneficiaries and staff members an opportunity to speak one-on-one with 359th Medical Group leaders in an informal setting.
During the inaugural "Free Coffee with Commanders" event Nov. 4, more than a dozen patients and staff members conversed with Col. Dana James, 359th MDG commander, and other group leaders, sharing their ideas about what they like about the clinic and what improvements they would like to see.
"The purpose of the event is to attract our beneficiaries and our staff by offering a free cup of coffee at Green Beans Coffee located in our lobby, then speak with them about the care they are receiving, what we are doing well, where we can improve and anything else they would like to talk about," Tech. Sgt. Rolando Guerrero, 359th Medical Operations Squadron Physical Therapy Flight chief, said.
Guerrero said he came up with the idea for the event following an innovation think tank he attended at the 59th Medical Wing at JBSA-Lackland.
"A few weeks later, our group commander, Col. James, sent an email asking for innovative ideas, and I replied with the 'Free Coffee with Commanders' event," he said. "She responded quickly to make it happen and that I had her full support."
Guerrero has been leading Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century "lean" process improvements at the clinic for more than two years.
"Our medical group has been using the lean methodology to improve our processes and enhance our customer experience," he said. "This event takes advantage of one of the five lean principles. The ultimate goal is to use the information we receive from the customer and tailor our processes to meet their expectations."
James said she was pleased with the initial coffee with commanders.
"Our priorities are a positive patient experience and safe, quality care, and the general feedback was that we're doing both really well," she said. "We will continue to get feedback and find ways to improve."
Opening up the event to staff allows them to "let leadership know what we can do to better serve them," James said.
Retiree Francis Glowacz, a retired Air Force technical sergeant who said he's "happy as a lark" about the facility, also had good words about the free coffee event.
"I think it's fantastic that they're taking an interest in the retirees coming here," he said.
Ida Ebalaroza, 359th Medical Operations Squadron licensed vocational nurse, said she hopes the event will continue.
"It's great to get together and be able to discuss things up-close and personal," she said.
Guerrero said he sees the event "evolving slowly, just like any other new idea.
"We hope that as people understand what we are trying to accomplish, more people will attend future 'Free Coffee with Commanders' events," he said.