07/09/2013 -- JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Naval Hospital Jacksonville and five branch health clinics, located in Albany, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Key West, Fla.; Kings Bay, Ga. and Mayport, Fla., will continue to support the health and well being of its patients during the furlough of approximately 660 civilian employees.
The furlough will not affect hours of operation at any location.
“Keeping Sailors and Marines - our nation’s heroes - healthy and fit to fight continues to be our first priority,” Capt. Gayle Shaffer, commanding officer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, said. “Like all of Navy Medicine, we will continue to meet our operational requirements in support of our warfighters and their families at our hospital and branch health clinics across the region.”
Because it’s critical that decreased staffing caused by the furloughs not compromise the ability to provide patients with high-quality care, some non-emergency, non-urgent care may be delayed or referred to the TRICARE network.
Patients may also experience longer than usual wait times.
Other cost-cutting measures already in place include limiting travel, delaying cosmetic facility renovations and non-critical equipment purchases, and eliminating civilian
merit pay awards.
Additionally, military staff will be redistributed and civilian staff furlough days will be staggered to align with patient care needs.
“People are our most important asset and we are extremely proud of and highly value the important contributions of our civilian workforce,” Shaffer said. “It’s most devastating to all of our civilian employees who are required to stay home, in a non-paid status, beginning July 8 for a total of 11 days by the end of September. It also affects our military staff who will be redistributed throughout our facilities to optimize care delivery as well as our patients who face delays in access to non-emergency, non-urgent care and increased referrals out to the TRICARE network.
“While our priority to heal our nation’s heroes remains unchanged and our team of civilian, military and contractor staff at our hospital and branch health clinics will continue to work diligently to provide outstanding care to our patients, the impact of sequestration and work lost due to civilian furloughs will be felt. We ask for understanding during this difficult time that we’re all in together,” Shaffer expressed.