By Kevin Jackson, AMCSeptember 28, 2017
McALESTER, Okla. -- Leaders from the Army medical community and the ammunition plant, here, cut the ribbon on a newly-renovated clinic that administers to the occupational health and industrial hygiene needs of the workforce on this Army installation in southeast Oklahoma, Sept. 20.
Col. Enrique Ortiz, Jr., commander of Reynolds Army Health Clinic at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Col. Joseph D. Blanding, MCAAP commander, were joined by Dr. Gregory Rogers, in unveiling the $6 million renovation to the occupational health clinic.
The contract was let by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Huntsville, Alabama, in September 2015. Work began in July 2016 and was completed earlier this month.
The clinic is now divided into two distinct areas. Medical operations, such as conducting exams and hearing tests, drawing blood, collecting urine samples, and issuing occupational health-related pharmaceuticals are handled on the north end of the 7,802-square foot facility.
Industrial hygiene programs that include asbestos abatement, air sampling and hearing conservation are located on the south end.
The clinic is outfitted with new laboratory equipment, a blood draw chair, one- and four-person audio booths, a new exam light, air sampling units, furniture, computers and more.
Connecting the renovated facility to its past is a 500-pound, WWII-era surgical light that hangs from the ceiling inside the foyer.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Col. Joseph D. Blanding, commander of McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, talked about the clinic's importance to his employees who produce munitions for the nation's warfighters.
"The personal readiness of our civilian workforce at MCAAP is vital -- it's vital because of the critical contribution they make to our warfighters and, ultimately, to the defense of our nation," he said.
"We simply cannot be without the occupational health services this clinic provides onsite for our workforce," Blanding said.
The clinic is responsible for the prevention of occupational illness and/or injury, health maintenance, and the prevention and monitoring of occupational hazards.
Between 200 and 250 patients receive care at the clinic each month, according to Richard Hilburn, industrial hygiene program manager/clinic administrator.
Ortiz, who came to Fort Sill from the Office of the Joint Staff Surgeon in Washington, D.C., acknowledged the importance of the facility that operates as a satellite of Reynolds Army Health Clinic.
"I came from the Army staff in Washington where one of the regular questions for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics was about ammunition," said Ortiz.
"It doesn't escape me about the strategic relevance of your plant, here," he said. "This clinic has strategic value as an enabler, not only for McAlester, but also for the Fort Sill community."
The clinic opened as a U.S. Navy Hospital when the U.S. Navy Ammunition Depot, McAlester, was commissioned in May 1943. Until Oct. 1, 1996, it functioned as a family practice clinic providing medical care to sailors, Marines, Soldiers, family members, and retirees.
MCAAP is one of 17 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial base facilities under the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
Reynolds Army Health Clinic serves as Fort Sill's premiere healthcare facility, which provides comprehensive, high-quality health care services for more than 51,000 active duty Soldiers, retirees, and family members in Oklahoma, Arkansas and northern Texas.