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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Huntsville Center’s Medical Initial Outfitting and Transition program awarded its first IO&T project for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The contract is for the New York Harbor Healthcare System Manhattan Campus in Manhattan, New York City, New York.

Awarded in September, the contract value is more than $984,666 with the period of performance running through March.

The VA New York Harbor Healthcare System consists of three campuses located in the East Side of Manhattan, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and St. Albans, Queens.

The project provides services to replace three existing ethylene oxide sterilizers, said Kaleb Whisenant, IO&T project manager.
Ethylene oxide is a low temperature gaseous process widely used to sterilize a variety of healthcare products, such as single-use medical devices.

Whisenant said the project also develops a concept of operations support for the VAMC staff for the proper use of the new sterilizers, associated equipment and functional areas impacted by the sterilizer replacement.

“We’re ensuring that each required department works through all the operational issues with the new equipment, focusing on processes, maintenance and training requirements,” Whisenant said.

This collaborative effort involves the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Corps’ New York District and will be the pilot project to pave the way for future IO&T projects with the VA.

Whisenant said collaboration has proved vital as COVID-19 has presented the biggest challenge to the project.

“Travel restrictions have prevented us from traveling to the project site for pre-award site visits or inspections during the execution of the scope of work,” he said. “We have been able to overcome this challenge with the support from the New York District Metro East Resident Office providing on-site support for all pre-award site visits and providing daily quality assurance support on the project.”

He said the collaborative effort from the Huntsville Center has been extensive, including the support from its Resource Management Office, Center Contracting and Office of Counsel.

“The teamwork has been outstanding,” Whisenant said.

Julia Chlarson, IO&T branch chief, said the opportunity to support the VA and veterans is a special honor and privilege.

“It is a proud moment to know that in some small, yet significant way, we have made a positive impact on veterans and their families,” Chlarson said.

“For all they have given us through their service to this United States of America, it is a unique and humbling way to try and pay them back for their sacrifices. We hope to do more work with the VA in the future.”

Huntsville Center’s IO&T program offers total turn-key project support for the equipping and transitioning of staff and patients associated with new and renovated military healthcare and medical research laboratory facility construction projects to support the medical mission throughout the world. The IO&T Team provides transition support with services that can provide everything needed to meet the mission on first patient day – the equipment and, just as important, the complete clinical operation planning to ensure smooth processes to support the patient delivery model for the warfighters, veterans and their families.

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