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Marine Corps Installations Pacific

Outfitting begins at new Naval Hospital

By Brian J. Davis, U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa Public Affairs | Marine Corps Installations Pacific | February 14, 2013

CAMP LESTER, Okinawa, Japan -- Outfitting and inspections are currently in progress at the new U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa facility on Camp Foster, and planning is underway to transfer hospital operations to the new facility in March.

The new hospital will have the same capabilities as the current facility on Camp Lester.

According to Navy Medicine West detachment officials overseeing the new hospital construction project, the construction stage of the facility is finished, government of Japan inspections are complete, and the building is currently being outfitted with equipment and supplies to support health care needs. The building and its satellite facilities are also undergoing U.S. government inspections of internal systems, such as fire alarm and suppression systems, to ensure the best possible safe, timely and quality patient care.

The outfitting process involves a wide range of activities, from assembling and placing office furniture to installing and calibrating sophisticated medical equipment. As with any project of this scale, careful planning is essential, and flexibility is the key to a safe and successful transition, according to Capt. Pius A. Aiyelawo, the commanding officer of USNH Okinawa.

“For example, if we have a critical patient in the neonatal intensive care unit or adult intensive care unit that can’t be moved on the date the unit is supposed to move, we will reschedule,” said Aiyelawo. “The NICU, ICU and all of the critical support functions patients need will remain available at Camp Lester until it’s safe to move them.

“The hospital will continue to provide uninterrupted health care leading up to and throughout the transition to the new hospital.”

The 443,000-square-foot facility is almost double the size of the current hospital on Camp Lester. The hospital is constructed to withstand earthquakes and situated on the high ground outside of the tsunami flood zone.

“This new military treatment facility will represent the leading edge in medical facility design and embody our continued commitment to providing patient and family-centered care to those entrusted to our personnel,” said Aiyelawo.

The hospital will make a public announcement for the dates the move will take place, according to Aiyelawo.

“Once all of the physical and administrative requirements to safely set up and deliver care at the new facility are met, we will move in,” said Aiyelawo.

The design of the new hospital facility also incorporates features such as improved handicap access, more spacious patient care areas and energy-efficient technology.

USNH Okinawa is the largest overseas military treatment facility in the Navy, serving a beneficiary population of 55,000 active-duty personnel, family members, civilian employees, contract personnel and retirees. The hospital also provides referral services for more than 189,000 beneficiaries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

For more news and information about the upcoming move to Camp Foster, visit www.navy.mil/sites/nhoki or the hospital’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usnho.


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