Military furloughs may impact care at Madigan Army Medical Center

Military furloughs may impact care at Madigan Army Medical Center

Credit: fortlewis.com

Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 25, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 25 at 10:42 PM

Employees are forced to sit at home because of sequestration cuts while patient calls go unanswered, surgeries are delayed and wait times get longer.
 
“It’s frustrating for us to come in and hear those calls and think I wasn’t there to help that person,” said Jennifer-Cari Green, who works in the hospital’s neurosurgery department.
 
Green is one of nearly 6,700 civilian and military employees that are furloughed on Fridays through September. The time off accounts for a nearly 20% pay cut.
 
“$580, that’s like my rent that’s gone out of my budget,” she said.
 
The single mom says it’s not just her family that’s hurting, patients are too.
“Some have been very frustrated,” said Green.
 
When she’s not at work in the neurosurgery department, Green says surgeries can’t be scheduled and calls for care are sent to answering machine.
 
“Brain surgeries at military hospitals are being delayed because of cuts from sequestration,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, on the Senate Floor Thursday.
 
On furlough days, some clinics at the substance abuse center at Madigan are closed, others stay open but with longer wait times with reduced staffing.
 
“It’s been tough,” said Green.
 
Green says military families deserve better.
 
“They have enough to worry about without wonder if their care is being compromised,” she said.
 
According to Madigan officials, it received 661-furlough exemptions for workers that deal with behavioral health and critical care. The hospital is also staggering furlough days throughout the week, to lessen their impact.
 
Despite reduction in services, officials say they won’t allow the cuts to compromise the safe, quality care it currently provides.

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