By: Carmen Russo
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Providence VA Medical Center celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning for its new intensive care unit (ICU) and transportation facility for sterile supplies. Funding for the improvement projects was secured by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who helped include $163 billion for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the Fiscal 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill. Reed attended the groundbreaking ceremony along with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative James Langevin. Dr. Susan MacKenzie, director of the Providence VA Medical Center, was the MC of the program. Congressman David Cicilline was traveling and unable to attend, but sent a representative to speak on his behalf. Former Brig. Gen. Rick Baccus and representatives from the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs also spoke at the event.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed
The new ICU will be 10,000 square feet and is expected to be finished by July 2017. Improvements will include new equipment, a convenient location next to the center’s surgical suite and more space for patients and staff. Nine inpatient care units will be added, as well as modern nurse stations, consultation rooms and more space for families. The addition is an effort to provide the best possible health care for veterans in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.
The center will also begin constructing a new Sterile Processing Service facility to allow for more efficient transportation of sterile supplies to operating rooms. Separate elevators will be used for clean and soiled materials and will eliminate the need to bring sterilized equipment through public corridors or the main lobby.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Representative James Langevin
Retired Brig. Gen. Rick Baccus
Dr. Susan MacKenzie Director, PVAMC