FORT HOOD — In taking the colors of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Col. Patricia Darnauer took command of an organization preparing for some drastic changes.

Darnauer accepted the role of commander of the Fort Hood medical center Friday morning in front of the main hospital entrance. Under her two years of leadership, the hospital will begin the early stages of moving into a new $500 million facility currently under construction.

“My goal is to refine and hard-wire the processes you have already established so that in 2015 as we transition to that new state-of-the-art hospital rising across the parking lot, we will continue to provide great care to our warriors, veterans and family members,” she said.

Starting next month, Darnauer will lead Darnall, which averages 5,180 patients a day and operates more than 70 facilities, through a civilian employee furlough.

“I commit to keeping you informed and to mitigate any fiscal, sequestration and administrative challenges that serve as distractors to performing our primary mission,” she said.

The last time Darnauer was stationed at Darnall, the medical center was simply a community hospital.

“Two weeks ago I returned ... and witnessed this organization’s terrific performance as the Joint Commission again fully accredited our health system,” Darnauer said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome than to observe as the (Darnall) team excelled under the pressures of this external review.”

Leading the hospital through the inspection was interim commander, Col. Roger Gallup, deputy commander of clinical services, who stepped up in April after Brig. Gen. Patrick Sargent moved on.

“It’s really a reflection of the hard work and continual preparedness (of the staff),” Gallup said of the accreditation. “Civilians play a big part of that as well.”

Darnauer thanked Gallup for his work and said she looks forward to working with him.

“Your professionalism and calm demeanor created the environment that contributes significantly to (Darnall’s) recent successes,” she said.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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