By Courtney Griggs, Fort SillJune 2, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Reynolds Army Community Hospital is going green. They aren't using solar-powered energy or serving vegan food in the cafeteria -- yet. RACH is just making small, yet significant, changes to save money and to protect the environment.
The "going green" project is just a small piece of the massive renovations and updates that the hospital is undertaking.
"We aren't necessarily building a bunch of new stuff, we are mostly just updating our old stuff," said Jason Burns, project manager. "For example, we aren't building new bathrooms, but we are replacing sinks with ones that have the automatic on/off feature. We are replacing toilets with 'low flow' toilets. Both of these updates will save significant amounts of water."
The $52 million plan consists of several projects.
"We are spending $28 million on renovations to improve the quality of services," said Lt. Col. Eric Glover, RACH chief of staff. "Out of every hospital in the Army, we have the most aggressive projects per square footage."
Numerous renovations are happening all over Fort Sill. Some are even off post, at the Frontier Medical Clinic on Lee Boulevard.
Frontier Medical Home
Frontier Medical Home on Lee Boulevard is an extension of Reynolds. Hospitals can often get crowded and not always be able to accommodate every Soldier and family member. Frontier Medical Home has the same concept as the medical homes in the family practice clinics on post, just a different location.
"It is often easier to get a walk-in appointment when there aren't as many people trying to see your doctor," said Glover. "Also, it is more convenient for people who live off-post. They don't have to travel as far."
This four-phase project has the potential to make seeing your Primary Care Manager more efficient and convenient.
"The family practice clinics are made up of two teams each," explained Glover. "Each team has four physicians and one physician's assistant. You won't always be able to see your PCM, but you will always be able to see a member of their team. The teams share information. They all know the histories of each patient and are just as capable of giving you excellent care."
The current construction on the family practice clinics is creating new hallways and offices. Each medical team will share a hallway for patient rooms. They will have adjoining offices and one central meeting room to discuss patients, share ideas and offer advice.
Each phase will take three months. The entire project should be completed by August or September 2012.
The $1.1 million upgrades were recently completed. The additions of child-friendly treatment rooms make the entire clinic a more pleasant experience for youths.
"Each room has a different theme," explained Glover. "Some are decorated with trains or a jungle. The children love it, and it makes them more comfortable. We also updated everything in the clinic to be green."
The $1.6 million renovation added space to the lab.
"We added major square footage," said Burns. "We turned an entire hallway into more lab room. The entire lab was cramped and not functioning to its potential because of that. We expanded on the core lab function."
"One of the biggest compliments we now receive is how quick and efficient the pharmacy is. It used to be our biggest complaint," admitted Glover. "With the addition of three new windows, now up to nine, there is no more waiting for an hour to get a prescription. The ill do not want to sit around a hospital waiting. The pharmacy was congested."
The extra windows help RACH meet standards and they are now among the top.
"We also got a ScriptPro to decrease medication errors," added Glover. "The chief of pharmacy has been very aggressive with making changes.
"Occupational and physical therapy are getting more space and better equipment. We are adding on new buildings.
"We added a new MRI in house," said Glover. "Fewer people are being sent out to imaging centers."
"The way care was delivered has changed since the hospital was built 20 years ago, said Burns. "Structurally this is a great hospital."
"Some areas are unable to support new services," added Glover. "We are repairing failing conditions. We are renovating and updating to meet with the times. And, every project we start will go green."