Rader Clinic reduces service on Fridays due to furloughs
July 22, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Anyone who went to Andrew Rader U.S. Army Health Clinic on Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall July 12 noticed a big change to a typical Friday. The clinic was only open for urgent care and dental appointments.
Due to the furloughs, the majority of the clinic's government civilian employees will not work on Fridays. Staff began their furlough days July 12 and will continue to be off on Fridays through September.
"Friday is our furlough day - none of our civilian employees will work on Fridays with the exception of our behavioral health providers - which include two psychiatrists, one social worker and one psychologist," said Lt. Col. Amal Chatila, deputy commander of clinical services and nursing at Rader Clinic.
"The reason we chose Friday was it was the day we have the least amount of patients and chose to close that day. We wanted to make sure we are still available for some of patient's acute needs. We didn't want patients to go to the emergency room and urgent care clinic for a cough, a cold, or a sprained ankle," Chatila said.
She said also taken into consideration was what services were a must-have at the clinic, what service training is needed, and who among the staff needs training in order to accommodate services needed on Fridays.
Chatila, one of two deputy commanders, and a nurse practitioner will each see 20 patients on Fridays during the furlough. "We can see all ages from infants to older adults," she added.
"We only have one podiatrist, one gynecology nurse practitioner, two optometrist - one is military and one is civilian - so we knew we had to have everyone take off on the same day. It wouldn't work to have one person off on a Tuesday, another on a Thursday," Chatila said. "Also, the providers work with support staff on teams here, so we had to take that into consideration."
Chatila said there won't be services available which require immunization, routine care maintenance or follow up on Fridays.
Periodic health assessments for active duty military members will still be performed on Fridays as well as behavioral health services.
With four civilian pharmacists employed at Rader, Chatila said there would be only one pharmacist available on the furlough Fridays. "Our clinic dispenses between 750 and 800 prescriptions with four pharmacists and 12 pharmacy techs. On the furlough day, the one pharmacist can only dispense safely 150 to 200 prescriptions. That's why on that day, we can only fill prescriptions for the patients we're seeing on that day," she said.
Chatila said Rader Clinic is also dispensing medications for patients being seen by The Old Guard's providers and for the patients being seen by Behavioral Health.
Patients can still send Internet relay messages or call the Integrated Referral Management Appointing Center, or IRMAC, to set up appointments.
Eighty-nine civilian employees at Rader Clinic are affected by the furloughs.