RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany –
Retirees living overseas face a unique set of obstacles as they adapt to a civilian life that is far removed from retiring in the continental United States. For some, one of the most significant challenges is navigating a socialized healthcare system as American patients are accustomed to the comprehensive Military Healthcare System, a model not readily available in foreign countries.
As part of the annual KMC Retiree Appreciation Day, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center partnered with U.S. Army Garrison Rhineland-Pfalz and Ramstein Air Base to show gratitude and support to military retirees living overseas at the Ramstein Officers’ Club on Ramstein Air Base, Oct. 19.
The KMC Retiree Appreciation Day is an annual event bringing together hundreds of retirees, their families, and the military community to express gratitude and provide insights into resources and support still available to retirees and their families while living overseas.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all military retirees and their families for their service, sacrifices, and unwavering commitment to our nation,” said U.S. Army Col. Theodore Brown, LRMC Commander.
According to the Department of Defense’s Office of the Actuary, the office responsible for military compensation and benefits, 7,112 DOD retirees, and an additional 1,182 surviving spouses, call Germany home.
Brown emphasized the unique role retirees play in keeping the medical force ready, stating, "When retirees go for care at Army Medical Treatment Facilities, you are directly contributing to our core mission of taking care of the warfighter. When our doctors, nurses, and technicians care for you, they are staying ready to fulfill our battlefield mission."
One of the highlights of the event was LRMC’s Army Public Health Nursing division’s flu drive, which administered over 80 vaccines to guests, in a four-hour period.
Information booths from various LRMC sections were also available to patrons, including patient advocate, host nation liaisons, occupational and physical therapy clinics, clinical operations experts, pharmacy, audiology, and dental health services.
Following opening remarks by community leaders, retirees posed questions to the speakers with an emphasis on the evolution of communication – incorporating technology into most announcements - forming a challenge for some retirees. LRMC’s recent migration to the Department of Defense’s new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, was also a focus for some in attendance, as the registration process can be complicated while living overseas.
In addition to healthcare services, Retiree Appreciation Day showcased opportunities for retirees to give back through volunteering. Brown highlighted the ongoing need for volunteers, stating, "We always welcome volunteers to help with the tremendous task of taking care of the largest American population outside the U.S. You've laid the foundation for today's service members, and through the Landstuhl American Red Cross and USO, you can volunteer and continue contributing to America's success."