It's a straightforward math problem: Start with 7,000-plus soldiers who've been away from their families for a year or more.
Bring them home.
Wait nine months.
The result, says Lt. Col. Nicholas Piantanida, deputy commander for clinical services at Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, is fairly predictable: "There are going to be more babies delivered in the Colorado Springs area."
On a January morning, the post already looks busy in the baby department, with a stream of mothers-to-be passing through the hospital lobby. Piantanida says Evans now sees between 120 and 160 new arrivals each month. And in the next six to eight months, he continues, monthly births here will likely exceed 200.
The numbers should only increase late this year and early next year, with some soldiers returning from combat and others relocating to Fort Carson. Piantanida declines to make baby projections beyond eight months, explaining that he doesn't want the community to "get too excited" about all the economic activity that will attend these births.
"As we get further into the 200s," he says, "there will be a need for women to deliver in the community."
Pregnant women won't be the only Fort Carson collective venturing to Colorado Springs for the health care they need. Already, soldiers needing therapy for traumatic brain injuries and other injuries are frequently sent into the community for rehab. Even with the Army building a new wing at Evans and starting a new clinic to help treat brain-injured soldiers, there will still be overflow.
Fresh from a meeting with Piantanida and other Fort Carson officials, Jason Fahrlander, chief operating officer for Memorial Health Systems, says discussions are well under way about Memorial accommodating more needs of Fort Carson, both baby deliveries and emergency care.
"We're trying to get out ahead of the curve for the expanded military presence," he says, calling the potential for new patients a benefit. "It's a win-win for them and for us."
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