The Army is converting Fort Knox’s Ireland Army Community Hospital to a community health clinic in response to the post’s declining population.
Emergency room services will be eliminated Sept. 1 and labor delivery services will be eliminated in the coming months. The hospital’s last operating room surgery was performed in July; inpatient services closed in June.
The transition to a clinic will affect about 200 hospital employees, including those on OB/GYN, ER and surgery services, reported the News-Enterprise. Pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, family care, pediatrics and behavioral health services will continue.
Replacing the emergency room at Fort Knox will be an acute care clinic, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
“Greater than 80 percent of the people we see in our emergency room today, those things that come through the doors are not emergencies,” said Col. Robert Cornes, the hospital’s commander. “We looked at our history and trends and when we see the patients the most, and then we targeted those hours of operations.”
After August, soldiers and their families will need to go to nearby community hospitals for emergency services. The installation’s EMS system and ambulances will continue to operate, according to the story.
The hospital will be rebranded the Ireland Army Community Health Clinic in October. Officials are planning to construct a new $80 million clinic and demolish the hospital building after it is completed. The clinic will provide primary care, with the TRICARE network providing specialty care.
“Our TRICARE contractors have done some analysis of the TRICARE network for us,” Cornes said. “We’re very confident that the things that we’re not going to be doing in the future are very adequately provided by our network here.”
Fort Knox, located outside of Louisville, Ky., lost its only brigade combat team in 2014 following the Army’s restructuring announced in 2013. Fort Jackson, S.C., also is transitioning its hospital to a community health clinic.