Lebanon VA Medical Center’s new facility: increases capacity to sterilize medical equipment including masks

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) – The Lebanon VA Medical Center just opened a new facility, that officials say will greatly increase their capacity to sterilize medical equipment. The new sterile processing service facility opened on Monday, and it’s expected to increase productivity by 65 percent.

“What we do is we inspect, we decontaminate, we disinfect, we sterilize, we render an object safe to use, safe to handle, and free from any germ or microorganism that could potentially create an infection,” said Richard Lambdin, Lebanon VA Medical Center’s Sterile Processing Service Chief.

The $2.4 million facility is nearly 2,000 square feet larger than the previous space, and has more advanced technology to sterilize equipment.

“We were only able to do eight in a one hour period. Now we’re able to do, in just this cart washer, 15 trays in a 50 minute time span, but we also have two additional washers that give us that additional eight to 10 trays,” said Lambdin.

The Lebanon VA Medical Center was the first VA Medical Center in the nation to use an FDA approved process to sterilize and reuse N95 masks.

“We actually run chemical indicating strips to show lethality level of hydrogen peroxide to contact on the mask, and it renders it 100 percent safe and sterilized,” said Lambdin.

The facility has reprocessed a little over three thousand masks for emergency use, and they can sterilize each one ten times. They’ve shared this process with other facilities, so they can potentially do the same, and what they’re doing is working.

“In the seven months that we’ve been doing this process, not one of my staff members has tested positive and we’re right in the fire of where contamination can occur,” said Lambdin.

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