Emergency Department, 1st Floor, Hospital. The new hospital facility emergency department has significantly more space with 36 individual exam rooms and four trauma bays. The trauma bays can be converted into emergency surgery suites if needed. The additional capabilities in the ER are an example of requirements for WBAMC to achieve Level II Trauma Center certification with the American College of Surgeons. | Jean Han Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office
William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel are all smiles this week as the new WBAMC facility enters its final transition stage after a month of closing activities.
For the next two weeks William Beaumont AMC is in the homestretch, moving all outpatient clinics that are currently operating in the legacy hospital to the new facility, marking the end of the transition process.
The new 1.3 million sq. ft. complex — which houses a 7-story hospital, 5 supporting buildings including an inpatient clinic, outpatient clinic, administration building, clinical investigation building, and central utility plant — is slated to be fully operational by the start of August.
This comes after nearly a month of closing activities, starting with the execution of the final “Day in the Life” exercise on June 16. WBAMC staff conducted a number of detailed scenarios designed to validate all the processes and procedures from every department and service across the hospital. This was to ensure that WBAMC staff are fully able to do all the things needed to continue to provide the highest quality patient care in the new facility.
Following the 16th until the 27th, WBAMC moved a number of their departmental offices from the legacy facility to the new facility.
On June 28, WBAMC officials held a press conference to offer a first look at the new facility. Media and news crews were invited to take a tour that included stops at Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy, the Simulation Operating Room, Maternal/Child Services, a Hybrid CATH-Lab, and the Emergency Department.
On July 1, WBAMC celebrated two milestones, the Dedication Ceremony of the new facility, along with the Centennial Celebration of the hospital on Fort Bliss, Texas. It was on July 1st, 1921 that William Beaumont General Hospital — named after Dr. William Beaumont, the father of gastric physiology — opened its doors.
Several of Dr. Beaumont’s descendants were in attendance, along with elected officials, general officers, distinguished guests, community partners, former commanders, WBAMC staff, family and friends.
Before the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, members of the official party — which included Col. Michael Oshiki, Commander of WBAMC, Maj. Gen. Bernabe, Commanding General, Fort Bliss, and leaders from the Defense Health Agency (DHA), U.S. Army Medical Command, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) — made a few remarks about the historic occasion.
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, Director, DHA reminded the audience that “the money, the mortar, the medics who work here are all representatives of a promise that this country makes to our Soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our marines, our guardians and our partners, and all of their families”.
That promise, according to Place, is that “they deserve the best care this country can give, in the finest facilities that we can build, with modern equipment and updated technology, and care delivered by the most well-trained, committed, and prepared medical professionals our military can offer”.
Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command, deemed the new facility the new crown jewel of the Military Health System and the epicenter for Soldier readiness.
“Army Medicine and the United States Army, is confident that what we have is not just the crown jewel, but the epicenter for Soldier readiness so that when we are called upon to deploy today and fight tonight, we will indeed return them [Soldiers] to duty tomorrow, because of the training that is done right here in this crown jewel.”
Maj. Gen. David Hill, Deputy Commanding General, USACE, explained that “patient care drove every design aspect of this state-of-the-art medical complex, setting a standard for the DOD and medical industry”.
“With this world-class facility, Army medical professionals will not only be able to meet the demands of today, but also support the changing needs of our warfighters and their families long into the future,” said Hill.
On July 11, the new facility at 18511 Highlander Medics St., Fort Bliss, Texas opened its doors, officially marking the move of the hospital’s healthcare activities from the legacy facility to the new facility. At 7 a.m. that day, WBAMC simultaneously stopped seeing patients in the legacy emergency room and started seeing patients in the new emergency room. All 20 inpatients were safely transferred between the two facilities.
Present & Future
Once the transfer of outpatient clinics over the next two weeks is completed, the new WBAMC facility will have fully taken over healthcare activities on Fort Bliss by the start of August. According to Oshiki, this is a significant milestone, not just for Fort Bliss, but also for the city of El Paso.
“The opening of what is the newest, most technologically advanced medical center in the DoD is the culmination of years of work, and is significant not just for William Beaumont and Fort Bliss, but for our greater El Paso community,” said Oshiki. “The borderland region is officially recognized as a medically underserved area, and the addition of this facility brings a critical capability to northeast El Paso…this will be even more true as we work to achieve Level II Trauma Center designation and Secretarial Designee status.”
With Level II Trauma Center designation and Secretarial Designee status, WBAMC will be able to further their capabilities when it comes to treating both civilians and service members.
“This is going to allow us not only to expand our ability to treat civilian emergency cases and help the El Paso community in treating those patients, we at William Beaumont also increase our own readiness to deploy around the world in support of military operations,” said Oshiki.