Physical Exam Forms
Our physicians, physician assistants, nurses and staff are very knowledgeable about firefighter functions and the health risks involved in fire fighting. Or medical director is an NFPA-1500 board member and the Health Center management staff are sworn personnel, which makes them more understanding to the needs and care of our fire fighter patients. The Health Center is also closely tied to the local medical community and has a strong relationship with the Toxicology Department at Good Samaritan Regional Hospital. If the member requires more specialized care, the medical staff works closely with numerous valley specialists who are used for member referrals. The medical staff is always available to answer health-related questions that need immediate attention.
Functional Movement and Mobility Screenings
Retired Fire Chief Alan Brunacini once said, “we used to take care of our trucks better than we took care of our people.” We have recognized that our most valuable resource is our people, and much like professional athletes, firefighters are met with physically demanding issues at a spur of the moment. With this in mind, we have initiated functional movement and mobility screenings for all of our members including recruits. Our specialists conducting the screenings are fire fighters with extensive backgrounds and degrees in the area of physical therapy, strength and conditioning and athletic training. The screenings include the formulation of notes and prescriptions for strengthening, rehabilitating, and flexibility improvement. In addition, these areas of improvement are addressed in the Phoenix Fire Department Pre-Academy; a weekend voluntary “academy” that prepares the candidates for the recruit life in the formal academy.
A critical area the Health Center oversees is exposure prevention, injury and investigation. The ultimate goal of the Exposure Control Program is to help firefighters stay as healthy as possible for their retirement years.
As a firefighter, the potential for exposure to heat and toxic elements at the emergency scene is considered part of the job. The goal of the Health Center is to provide firefighters with the training and protective gear necessary to minimize the risk of injury when faced with these life-threatening conditions. The programs revolve around training, treatment and documentation of exposure due to heat, infectious disease and chemicals.
The Infection Control Program investigates all incidents of disease exposure when alerted by either our members or other outside agencies. Working closely with the department’s physicians, physician assistants and nurses, the Infection Control Officer informs members as to possible disease infection and the proper course of drug therapies.
Throughout the Phoenix Fire Department, trained technicians are certified through the County Health Department and provide exposure testing and give immunizations. This job ranges from administering the TB skin test and hepatitis vaccines to flu shots during high season. Along with providing recommendations for the proper use of their personal protective equipment, the Infection Control Officer informs everyone on the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and OSHA concerning blood borne pathogens.
To report infectious/communicable exposure click HERE.
The Phoenix Fire Department Health Center and Local 493 work with several health and safety agencies in formulating and enforcing policy and procedure when it comes to possible risk from chemicals, infectious disease or heat. This medical services labor management sub-committee is responsible for managing emergency medical clothing, recommending the equipment, training and procedures for usage in the field.
When the potential for injury due to exposure occurs, an organized system is in place to properly handle the health risk posed. This means a thorough investigation, collection and testing of the product involved, in addition to documentation of the incident and treatment measures. The information is kept in the Exposure Control Database for thirty years after retirement or termination of service.
Building and maintaining this database is crucial. Since Arizona does not have a presumptive cancer law, this system helps provide documentation relating cancer or another sickness that might strike a firefighter to an exposure that occurred on duty. The archives can also be used to access information by the Health Center physicians for information to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of an illness that an employee may have developed from an exposure to a toxic substance.
To report toxic chemical exposure click HERE.
The exposure database is one piece of information compiled by the Health Center as a part of the Wellness Initiative that studies the long-term health risks and treatments that firefighters face throughout their career and into retirement.
By maintaining a confidential history of member’s exposures, we can help provide the information necessary to possibly link disease development to specific job-related activities. Participating in the fitness evaluations gives the Health Center the opportunity to evaluate a large amount of data for the development and enhancement of new programs in injury prevention, job performance and quality of life for the members. It also adds statistical support for garnering new equipment and clothing. Data collected from fitness evaluations is a part of a confident, centralized database. Only departments subscribing to the standards laid out in the Wellness Initiative can submit their data. No medical information is ever released without the member’s consent. All of the data is completely confidential.
The Phoenix Fire Department Health Center is constantly evolving and growing with the management of emergency medical training, treatment and prevention. The information from all our confidential databases helps us learn where we can improve on education and training so that exposures and the health problems that stem from them are minimized.
Electronic Medical Records Program
||Tracks all the financial records for treatment and budget spending.
||Maintains records of firefighters assignments while injured or on alternate assignment.
||Keeps an ongoing medical history of our retired members to ensure a proactive stance toward quality medical care for our retired firefighters.
||Tracks exposures encountered by firefighters and may extend from an occurrence.
When an individual is injured, ill or medically incapable of performing their assigned duties, they become eligible to participate in the Alternative Duty Program. Giving all members of the Phoenix Fire Department (both sworn and civilian) an alternative to sick leave, the program has evolved from simply placing someone in a spot until released by their physician, to strategic placement and full service care at the Health Center. This facilitates regular monitoring of injured members’ progress in areas such as physical therapy, rehabilitation and overall physical well-being.
The Alternate Duty Program has proven to be a vital tool in the overall concept of sound personnel management. It is a benefit that allows individuals who would otherwise be off work entirely, the opportunity to work while they are in a recuperative state.
When an injury or illness is not industrial, the member benefits from the program by not being forced to deplete their entire bank of sick leave, and in some cases, be on unpaid leave. A moral booster for those who’ve been able to use it, Alternate Duty promotes an overall feeling of well being which in turn lends to a speedier recovery.
Industrial Injury/Case Management
The men and women handling case management within the Health Center act as a liaison between members, the state compensation fund, city safety and physicians. Many times they work behind the scenes to ensure the whole system works like a well-oiled machine by explaining policy and procedure for industrial or other injuries to members and keeping the necessary paperwork moving through the system.
All industrial injuries are managed through the Health Center. Case management stays in constant contact with inured members and makes sure the special needs of any member on industrial leave or alternate duty are met. They also conduct bi-monthly meetings to discuss the progress of members on industrial leave and alternate duty. Case management enables firefighters and other members to safely return to full duty and makes their transition between jobs smooth and successful.