LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas— Airman 1st Class Sahira Contreras, 47th Medical Support Squadron referral management technician, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, for the week of May 27, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Andrew Cruz, 47th Medical Group commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Jose Diaz, 47th MDG superintendent, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.
At her workplace, Contreras said her team stays busy processing referrals as they are one of the busiest referral management centers Air Force-wide. Another major part of their job is ensuring people’s health records stay up to date so the doctors in the clinic have all the information they need.
Contreras provided the Stork Nesting Brief, a brief exclusive to Laughlin, for parents who are expecting, and had to travel to San Antonio to deliver. It informs the parents, helping them have a smooth trip to have a new baby without the financial stress of the moment.
“I’ve learned about the expense of the trip,” Contreras said. “It’s not cheap to travel to San Antonio, and it’s not cheap to have kids. We have to look into every document and be very detail-oriented, checking the documents to see if they’re answered properly and verifying the claims match the e-vouchers.”
Contreras coordinated 423 referrals with 24 clinics by securing access to care and solidifying the local area total network, which helped extend care to about 3,600 patients.
“Our main focus at this base are the pilots and the people who make the mission happen,” Contreras said. “We only have basic services at Laughlin like dental and family health so when they need more extensive care, it’s important we get them the care they need.”
Contreras also managed 98 Defense Travel System authorizations and vouchers, and she conducted 63 briefs, educating 87 patients. She oversaw a $31,000 budget, and ensured timely payment so her patients could get the care they needed.
“Being able to refer patients locally saves them the hassle of driving to San Antonio,” she said. “Making sure we look at every single detail is vital because DTS comes down hard on making sure everything is correct. I’ve had several people come in and thank me for informing them and helping their trip go well.”
Contreras keeps herself busy at work, and also as secretary of the enlisted dorm counsel. Leadership chose her for this week’s “XLer” because she hit the ground running as a first-term-Airman at Laughlin.
“It was more of a team effort,” Contreras said. “It was a reward for all of us because people don’t always know what we do here. It’s great to bring recognition to my team."