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Madigan furlough schedule closing medical services on different days of the week

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on July 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
July 1, 2013 1:30 pm

“Friday furloughs” are the norm at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this summer, but the calendar is more complicated for the 120,000 people who rely on Madigan Army Medical Center for care.

The hospital plans to carry out its Pentagon-mandated furloughs of civilian employees on different days of the week, shutting certain services on the days they experience the least demand.

Some services will remain open around the clock and all week. They include the hospital’s emergency room and labor and delivery services.

The offices that will close or experience reduced services between Monday, July 8 and Monday, Sept. 30 are:

  • The outpatient pharmacy will close on Saturdays.
  • The mini-mall pharmacy will close on Tuesdays.
  • Family medical clinics, including the Okubo and Winder clinics, will close on Fridays for routine primary care. They will be open for urgent and acute care.
  • Off-site clinics in Puyallup and Olympia will close on Fridays.
  • The McChord Medical Clinic will stay open five days a week, but it will have reduced staffing and probably lengthy wait times.
  • Internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics will also stay open on regular schedules with reduced staffing.
  • The hospital’s allergy clinic will have no walk-in vaccinations on Fridays.
  • Its audiology clinic will have no walk-in hearing aid repairs on Mondays and Fridays.
  • The wound care clinic will have no walk-ins on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will have decreased availability for walk-ins during the rest of the week.

Madigan has about 3,300 civilian employees. Hospital Commander Col. Dallas Homas received permission to exempt 661 of them from the mandatory furloughs.

The exemptions largely took place in the hospital’s behavioral health department, Warrior Transition Battalion as well as in services that were deemed critical for patient care.

All together, about 10,000 Lewis-McChord civilian employees will have mandatory time off from July 8 through Sept. 30 because of the forced federal spending cuts known as sequestration. Those cuts cost the Defense Department about $40 billion this year.

Civilian employees at the base expect to lose 20 percent of their pay over the next three months, with one unpaid day off each week for 11 weeks. The vast majority of them will not go to work on Fridays, according to a plan the base released last month.

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