On Feb. 15, leadership at Fort McCoy celebrated the conclusion of Operation Allies Welcome, with the last family of more than 13,000 Afghan guests successfully departing the base that day.
Hospital leaders from across the region gathered to attend the ceremony, which was also attended by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, who thanked all those involved in making the effort a success.
From the beginning of the operation, WHA had worked with the state of Wisconsin, Wisconsin's congressional delegation and federal officials to advocate for additional federal resources to keep as much medical care on the base as possible, given that COVID had already severely stressed hospital resources across the state.
All told, area hospitals provided more than 800 emergency room or urgent care visits for Fort McCoy guests and close to 175 inpatient hospitalizations, including the delivery of 65 babies, all during a sustained surge in demand for care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also provided many additional clinical and specialty care visits.
Throughout the operation, leaders of Fort McCoy's medical task force praised the coordination of area hospitals and the Region 4 Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC), which held regular planning calls bringing together hospital leaders, state officials and Fort McCoy leadership to tackle various challenges, including a measles outbreak, coordination of prenatal and birthing services for a large number of pregnant guests and ongoing issues with medical records and care coordination.