POSTED: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 6:09pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 8:35pm
246 civilian employees furloughed
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The government shutdown has the staff worried and upset at William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
Adam Lozano, is the head of clinical support and has had to pick up the pieces these last few days.
"It hasn't been fun. I'll tell you that. It's been difficult, frustrating sometimes," said Lozano.
So far the hospital has sent 246 civilian employees home without pay. Payroll clerks, public affairs and insurance billings staff were the first ones to go.
"It's affecting the entire hospital but the priority here and the focus for command is sustaining patient care and I think we've done that," said Lozano.
Colonel Michael Heimall, the commander at WBAMC, said they are operating as a fully functional hospital, but had to cut back on certain procedures.
"Our emergency room is running at full staff. Our inpatient wards are running at full staff. Our outpatient clinics are running at full staff," said Heimall.
Some elective surgeries are being postponed.
"If the physician determines that postponing that surgery will not do any harm to the patient than we're gonna postpone that surgery," said Heimall.
While some services will be canceled, William Beaumont's blood drives will not be.
"20% of the blood that we collect here on Fort Bliss goes to places like Afghanistan to help soldiers on the battle field," said Heimall.
The leader of the troop hosting the blood drive at Fort Bliss says this is the first of many to come for his company.
"From service members going to our brothers that are deployed downrange I think it is a pretty important cause and I've already talked to them about making this a regular occurrence," said Troop Commander Rick Chersicla.
For now Adam Lozano will just have to do the best he can with the staff he has.
"Our association with the military and the tradition that comes with it, I think that's what helps us carry on," said Lozano.