25 June 2009

Landstuhl hospital to move to Ramstein?

DOD mulls moving Landstuhl hospital to Ramstein
By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last August, Landstuhl received approval for a $400 million project that, among other upgrades, would add a five-story inpatient tower to the existing hospital. Construction on the new tower is slated to begin in 2010 or 2011. But with the new study ongoing, that project now is in limbo.

"They’re looking at 20-, 25-, 30-, 40-year projections of what [U.S. Army Europe] and this whole area’s going to look like, where are we going to get cost benefits and all the rest of that stuff," said Army Col. Brian Lein, Landstuhl commander. "It’s not just the hospital we’re talking about. It’s the USO, the [medical transient detachment], the barracks and the Fisher houses. You can’t just move the hospital. You’d have to take everything from here and then move it to some place over on Ramstein."

Landstuhl officials learned in late April of the DOD study, Lein said.

The hospital is the first stop for all wounded U.S. troops coming from Iraq and Afghanistan. Military aircraft carrying wounded troops from downrange land at Ramstein, and the troops are taken by bus for the 15-minute trip to Landstuhl.

Since 2004, the hospital has treated 54,736 patients from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

With construction set to begin as early as next year at Landstuhl, a recommendation from the DOD study would likely be issued this year, but Lein said he was unsure when the recommendation would be made. ...

The Landstuhl hospital opened in 1953. While renovations have occurred, much of the current structure dates back to the early 1950s.

The facility operates as an Army hospital, however all branches of the military work there, including sizable Air Force and Navy contingents. The total staff is about 2,800.

The hospital will remain an Army facility regardless of where it’s located, Lein said.

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