Augusta, GA---Thousands of people who get care at Eisenhower Army Medical Center will need patience this summer. The commanding general wants everyone to know about some staff shortages in primary care and orthopedics that could mean calling ahead or even going into the community for care.
70-thousand people in the Augusta area depend on Eisenhower for their health care. The commanding general, BG Donald Bradshaw has this message for them: "We are temporarily short-staffed in a couple of areas, mostly primary care and family medicine, and in particular specialties like orthopedics."
General Bradshaw says summer is peak time for being short staffed. It's when the Army typically moves staff around because kids are out of school, and with the extended deployment in Iraq, and new standards for treating the wounded warriors more quickly, it's a triple whammy.
BG Bradshaw says "We have taken actions, we are hiring contractors, and we also have more staff coming in the fall. From our patients we're asking a little patience please and also a little forethought with scheduling appointments like physicals for summer camp, school physicals and those kinds of things."
It means parents like Bridgette Summerour will need to plan ahead for her daughter Asia's track team and back to school physical. She didn't seem inconvenienced by the staffing shortages, saying "I don't think anyone should have a problem with that." And she, like Liz Hildreth doesn't have a problem with a possible co-pay of 8 to 12 dollars for certain sub-specialties, saying, "I think I'll cope, the military foots the bill and if it's a co-pay, i don't think anyone would be highly affected by that." Liz Hildreth, whose husband is in Afghanistan, says "I think that'll be fine, as long as we can still find a doctor."
If you have questions about getting an appointment or where you can go in the Tri-Care network, General Bradshaw says they'll walk you through what you need to know. The number for appointments is 706-787-7300.