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RACH: Turning ER into urgent care center

FORT SILL, Okla._The Reynolds Army Community Hospital will convert their current emergency room into an urgent care room on July 1.

Ninety-nine percent of the care provided by the Reynolds Army Community Hospital emergency room in 2013 is considered to be non-emergency cases. Instead, they were treating minor injuries and seasonal illnesses, like the flu and common cold. With that in mind, they will start the transition to turn the emergency room into an urgent care room on July 1. True emergencies will be transferred to Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

It may seem as if something is being taking away, officials say a lot more is actually being given. The urgent care center will run 24/7 365 days a year, ready to provide help for soldiers and their families. Walk-ins and appointments are both welcome.

Army officials say the move to go to an urgent care is two-fold.

"Best medical needs for the community at Fort Sill as well as the financial. We are looking; roughly right now we are looking to save roughly about $2 million a year," said Colonel Noel Cardenas, Commander of Reynolds Army Community Hospital.

There has been concern around the post about the impact of losing access to an emergency room.  

"We have done the risk assessment, and we have done the analysis and based on the needs of this community, this is the right decision. They will get the level of support they need, they will get it at the right time, and they will get it at the right location," explained Col. Cardenas.

Basic services will still be provided to soldiers and their families.

"If they come in, and they require for example a broken arm or broken leg, we still have the orthopedic services that can be called in if they aren't here already, and they can assess that patient and take care of them," said Col. Cardenas.

Reynolds will continue their EMS ambulance services.

"That will be to support the Fort Sill communities so if we have a true emergency that comes in they will be quickly assessed, the staff will realize it's an emergency, and they will use our EMS services to get them down to Comanche. Just because they are doing away with the emergency room, doesn't mean the urgent care facility will be any less staffed either. We'll have doctors. It will be a mix, doctors, nurse practitioners, PA's, and of course they will have their support staff, RN's, LPN's," said Col. Cardenas.

Army officials are excited about the move, hoping to cut down on wait times, and increase the level of care. There will be no change in ambulance support for Fort Sill and the transition is expected to be seamless.

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