Col. Michael Zick, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and Col. William Summers, 386th AEW vice commander, gather items for the first Patient Movement Item hub order Aug. 26, 2011, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rachelle Elsea)
by Senior Airman Rachelle Elsea
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
8/28/2011 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The 386th Expeditionary Medical Group recently stood up a new mission titled the Patient Movement Item or PMI hub in support of several area of responsibility operations.
The hub supplies durable medical equipment to 38 bases in the AOR and is currently home to nearly 2,000 items valued at $146,000.
Staff Sgt. Taylor Ramos, 386th MDG PMI manager, deployed from Joint Base Andrews, Md., headed up the project.
"The PMI hub originally was a storage area for the med group," said Ramos. "We pulled everything out item by item and evaluated exactly what we were going to do with it. We were able to re-allocate $47,000 worth of supplies to the Fire Department."
Preparing the facility took the team approximately three weeks.
"The hardest part about starting the mission was not knowing how much room we would have before all the supplies started coming in," said Ramos. "We decided to make changes on the fly and set the hub up the way we thought it would work best. Not having as much room as we would like could potentially be challenging, but our motto is 'whatever it takes.'"
With a team of five, the mission will be no easy feat. They expect around 50 to 100 orders per week.
"Our job here is to make sure that we have readily available stock, including litters, litter pads, litter straps, restraints, backrests and litter wheel carriers," said Ramos. "After receiving notification of an order, we pull the requested supplies and build a pallet or tri-wall and ship them out to their final destination."
Items are continuously recycled back through the PMI hub to ensure optimal care for wounded warriors. The PMI hub is crucial.
"This mission is extremely important because, not too long ago, there was no PMI hub in the whole AOR," said Ramos. "All PMI durables were coming from the states and the turnaround time was too long for PMI to run as effectively as everyone would like. The new mission keeps things running smoothly and gets the PMI durables to their end users in a quickly and timely manner."
Converting an old storage room into a supply room that could save many lives was a huge obstacle that Ramos and his team had to overcome. But now, the project is complete; the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming.
"The most rewarding part for me is just to see the mission go from just a thought to a reality," said Ramos. "When we first started cleaning out our PMI room I thought we would never get there. Now that we are fully operational it is just a great feeling."