VA New England Healthcare System
One Team. One Mission. One VISN 1.
In mid-February 2021, a winter storm hit interrupting the national COVID-19 vaccine supply chain. In response, VA New England Healthcare System demonstrated the strength of a truly integrated healthcare system – One Team. One Mission. One VISN 1.
"A unified response is essential in maximizing available resources to best serve Veterans,” said Barret Franklin, Deputy Network Director. “Members of team One VISN 1 from our Bedford, Manchester and White River Junction facilities have set the bar for collaboration."
Enhanced collaboration came out of necessity following a winter storm that impacted much of the nation temporarily interrupting the supply chain of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The concern began when anticipated vaccine didn’t arrive at VA Manchester. It was unclear when a vaccine delivery would be possible. Leadership across VA New England Healthcare System came together and reviewed our collective resources, ability to mobilize vaccine to alternate locations and meet the previously scheduled vaccine clinic demand.
Strength of One VISN 1
VA Manchester had a clinic at risk and VA White River Junction was able to provide over one hundred doses of Moderna vaccine to support it. There was a chain of custody and strict handling to consider, but the custody transfer went off without a hitch.
After successfully navigating the first clinic that was impacted, the supply chain interruption continued and a day later no vaccine was immediately expected with hundreds of Veterans scheduled over the coming days. The interruption in the supply chain had impacted all of New Hampshire and beyond. With another clinic in jeopardy of cancellation at VA Manchester, the VA Bedford Vaccination Team offered up their services to run a First Dose Pfizer Clinic. VA Manchester had been a Moderna dedicated facility and planning for VA Bedford to run a first second dose Pfizer clinic would be required.
Impact of One VISN 1
Image: Vaccine transport required a policy custody from VA Bedford to VA Manchester.
Operationalizing a remote VA Bedford Pfizer Clinic was no small feat, there was an advance team led by Ron Vallee, Business Office Manager, VA Bedford who was accompanied by a team of administrators. Shortly after that, a VA Police escorted mobile unit caring vaccine administrators, vaccination supplies and the Pfizer doses arrived.
Image: Sandra Getchell, Clinic Lead for VA Bedford and Mona Lavalliere, Nurse Informatics, VA Manchester work to ready VA Bedford providers to accept patients at the VA Manchester location.
There were a few process challenges as things got started, but within minutes the VA teams Manchester and Bedford were operating in unison. The first dose Pfizer Bedford VA Vaccine Clinic at Manchester resulted in 234 Veterans being vaccinated. Veterans were armed with smiles and greater protection as well as an appointment for their second dose vaccine when they left.
"Just in time transition is a powerful tool in our One VISN 1 arsenal as we move the line forward in our efforts to protect Veterans and the nation from COVID-19," said Ryan Lilly, Network Director VA New England Health Care. "Our vision to be a premier, integrated, highly engaged team, that provides exceptional care to the Veterans is realized in moments like these."
Together, we are impacting Veteran wellness and quality of life. These are proud moments – we are truly One Team. One Mission. One VISN 1.