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Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hospital suffers millions of dollars in damages from earthquake

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom Bussiere, Commander of Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command, Alaskan Command, and the Eleventh Air Force, and the 673d Civil Engineer Group Commander Col. Michael R. Staples speak with a civil engineer about ongoing repairs at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Exchange, Dec. 1, 2018.

CRYSTAL A. JENKINS/U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 4, 2018

WASHINGTON — Medical facilities at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska sustained millions of dollars in damages last week from a massive earthquake, with one facility destroyed and another suffering equipment losses, the base medical group commander said Tuesday.

“We have probably about $7 million worth of damage that we’re going to have to work on in the next several months,” Col. Mark Lamey, acting 673rd Medical Group commander, said during a town hall meeting about installation services after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake Friday.

The installation is still “providing all the health care capability sets that we’ve always had, minus a couple things,” he said. Some services cannot be performed due to some medical equipment needing to be replaced or recalibrated, such as machines used for laser eye surgeries.

Their flight medicine building, which focuses on pilots and air crew medical readiness, was “completely devastated,” Lamey said.

“The interior is destroyed and so we’ve had to relocate those functions,” to the family health clinic, he said. Their occupational medicine and deployment health operations have also been relocated to another building on base.

There was also a loss to routine appointments since the earthquake. Lamey said he is looking into extending their hours to provide care to the community.

The Glenn Highway, a main road leading to the base, was also damaged in several places so the installation is trying to stagger when people come on the base for work, according to Lt. Col. John Ross, a spokesman for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the 673rd Air Base Wing.

kenney.caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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