The new commander of Martin Army Community Hospital and Army Medical Department Activity at Fort Benning said opening the new hospital next year will be a perfect opportunity.
“It’s a great responsibility but the perfect opportunity,” Col. Scott B. Avery said of the new facility under construction on Bass Road. “I’m honored to have that responsibility and look forward to working through that project with all the professionals.”
Avery, 47, assumed command from outgoing Col. Timothy E. Lamb during a 9 a.m. ceremony on York Field in front of McGinnis-Wickam Hall. After 30 years of miltary service, Lamb is retiring and returning to Virginia.
Construction is 67 percent complete on the $363.7 million hospital and it’s on schedule to open in November 2014. The eight-story hospital will include two clinics and provide separate parking for staff and patients.
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Avery takes over the medical duties on post as most civilian employees started furloughs this week as part of federal budget cuts that call for 11 days of unpaid furloughs before Sept. 30. About 250 health care workers were on furloughs Monday, a schedule that will be repeated every week until the off days are completed.
Avery said the staff would try to lessen the impact on the employees as much as possible. “It’s really unfortunate that we have some folks that struggle from day to day,” Avery said. “We will try and work with each of them to lessen the impacts of the furloughs.”