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Long journey ended
Lt. Col. Mark Batcho, 71st Medical Support Squadron commander, Col. Margaret Matarese, Air Education and Training Command Surgeon General, Mr. Shane Campbell, 71st Medical Group facilities manager and Col. Otha Solomon, 71st MDG commander, cut a ribbon at the 71st Medical Group's newly renovated clinic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Terry Wasson)
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Vance clinic 'facility to be proud of'

Posted 12/3/2008   Updated 12/10/2008 Email story   Print story

    


by 2nd Lt. Agneta Murnan
71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


12/3/2008 - VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 71st Medical Group opened doors to its newly-remodeled clinic with a ribbon- cutting ceremony Nov. 18. The $2.1 million reconstruction spanned 20 months in six-phases -- all while normal medical operations continued.

"We moved entire medical operations to temporary locations and back again," said 71st Medical Support Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Mark Batcho. "We juggled schedules and unforeseen events in the construction plan. We worked through and overcame significant issues with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, infection control, security, patient access and handicap access concerns."

The project began after two medical facility assessments were conducted in 2002 and 2005 by the Air Force Health Facilities Office. Final recommendations included complete renovation of Clinical Medicine, Flight Medicine, Immunizations, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Optometry and Pediatrics.

The recommendations also called for renovation of all patient waiting areas, lobbies and hallways, in addition to energy-efficient lighting and plumbing systems.

The renovation served as preventative maintenance, and improved the efficiency and user-friendliness of the physical layout for the clinic's customers.

"This is a facility that our staff can really be proud of. This is a place they'll want to take their parents," said Col. Otha Solomon, 71st Medical Group commander.

During the clinic remodeling, several other modernization projects took place. New buildings for Mental Health, the base Veterinary Clinic and Medical Administration were constructed. Rubberized flooring was installed throughout the clinic for its anti-fatigue and low-maintenance properties, and the clinic's heating, air conditioning and ventilation were all upgraded.

Also during this time period, the 71st MDG completed its Air Force Health Services Inspection and its Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare inspection.

"That is testimony to the great team of active duty, civilian and contractors that work here," said Colonel Batcho. "We have a facility management section that coordinated all the construction phases and self- help projects as we moved from one phase to the next. They juggled all the details -- good, bad and ugly -- and did a wonderful job.

"We have a pharmacist here named Capt. Ellen Roska that ran her pharmacy out of a closet for five months, and she did it with three staff vacancies.

"We have an Information Systems team of Mr. Wayne Burris, Mr. John Roy, Mr. Rico Sellers. For 18 months this shop verified every local area network drop, outlet and telephone line, and continuously kept the medical group up and operating throughout significant demolition and construction."

"This facility will enhance our ability to provide state-of-the-art care to all of our beneficiaries in an environment that promotes healing and safety. We can all be proud and enjoy this wonderful clinic," Colonel Solomon said.



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