Note: This is the first in a series that will highlight USACS active military and veteran employees. We are grateful for their service!
If you work full-time but also serve in the U.S. National Guard or Reserves, do you ever worry about what an overseas deployment would mean for your family?
“If you are deployed, you go somewhere with housing and housing expenses and food and all of that taken care of, but your family at home doesn’t get cared for, especially if you’re in the Reserves or Guard,” explained Dr. Steven Guyton, a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.
At least, that’s the way it used to be. But not anymore, not at US Acute Care Solutions.
“USACS leadership reached out to me and other military folks in the company to learn more about what it means to be in the guard/service, and what challenges that poses with our full-time emergency medicine jobs,” Guyton said. “They came up with a great policy that really allows folks to step up and serve when needed without worrying about financial or other burdens for their families. It definitely makes me proud to be part of this company.”
The USACS military policy now sets the standard in health care. It entails:
- Any deployment longer than one month is considered a PAID leave of absence
- USACS pays the clinician’s previous average 12-month average compensation, offset by military pay
- The clinician’s benefit deductions are PAID by USACS while s/he is on leave
A unique journey
Dr. Guyton’s journey was not the typical military route.
When a NASA flight doctor spoke at his medical school’s conference, Guyton become fascinated with space medicine, so much so that he joined the aerospace medical association (AsMA). Guyton spent two months of his fourth year of medical school working at both the Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers in NASA clerkships, learning how to ensure the safety of flight crew in extreme conditions, for weeks or months at a time. Before his residency, he spoke to a recruiter about joining the military, but the plan wasn’t quite coming together, so the physician continued on his traditional path in emergency medicine.
Fast forward a few years, and Dr. Guyton was overseeing a first-year resident who was in the second stage of his career. He had served as a fighter pilot, and Guyton shared of his own interest in space medicine and flight in general. The pair quickly became friends, and eventually the resident suggested that Guyton join the Air Force.
So he did.
Deployments to Afghanistan & Antarctica
Guyton’s education and skills earned him the rank of Major. His first deployment was to Afghanistan, where he served as the pilot and crew physician. His second deployment, in January of 2016, fulfilled a unique dream: he was stationed with the New York Air National Guard’s 109thAirlift Wing, who participate in the U.S. Air Force’s Operation Deep Freeze mission in Antarctica. Population: scientists, penguins, and seals. Oh, and another (former) USACS doctor, Richard Trierweiler, MD.
Guyton’s wife, Megan, had their first child, Charlotte, in October 2015, and Steve was deployed in January 2016. He gave Megan his service medal and is always quick to point out that he couldn’t have done his job without her. But in a climate where temperatures reach 50 degrees below zero and the closest hospital is eight hours away by airplane, his own conditions were certainly not for the feint of heart.
“In the ER, you have all the resources available to you, but in Antarctica, there are a lot of decisions you have to make,” he said. “If someone comes in sick, you could sometimes put the patient in your office with an IV. The medical staff consists of you, one nurse, two techs, and another doctor, so if the patient is sick enough that they need to make the flight to New Zealand, you have to decide who goes where, how soon, and who to send with him. It was certainly very cool, but a very different way to practice medicine.”
Where in the world Guyton’s journey will take him next, he’s not sure. But he’s confident that wherever he goes, USACS has his back.