Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

From COVID-19 testing to MHS GENESIS support, lab techs do it all

Image of Military health personnel wearing a face mask using a blood analyzer machine. Immunohematology is just another word to a laboratory technician…Hospital Corpsman 1st Class KC Geisler, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton Laboratory leading petty officer, purviews an anti-body panel at their blood bank analyzer during a normal high operational-tempo morning (Photo by: Douglas Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Even though April 18-24, 2021 is designated as Medical Laboratory Professional Week, for laboratory technicians like Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class KC Geisler, there's no slow down or reduction of service taking place during the week.

Geisler, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Bremerton as the laboratory leading petty officer, readily affirms that his lab is central to all health-care provided at the command.

"As a laboratory professional we organically see almost every single patients either through getting their blood drawn or through their specimen(s) that are dropped off to the laboratory," said Geisler.

To describe what lab techs do, Geisler chose a famed fictional detective to illustrate their importance and provide context.

"Laboratorians are the Sherlock Holmes of the medical field. We help to identify cancers and disease through testing and have to ensure that the results that we put out are accurate. Providers depend heavily on the results that we give them so that they can better treat their patient," Geisler said. "To put it simply, providers cannot function without us. Without laboratory results it makes it that much harder to pinpoint that disease or affliction that a patient may have. Yes they could treat the symptoms but without that result to re-enforce their diagnosis, the patient wouldn't be able to get the right quality care that they need."

For 2020, there were approximately 699,500 tests conducted by the Core Lab, including hematology, urinalysis, coagulation, blood bank, point-of-care testing, microbiology and cytology/histology. There were another approximately 36,155 tests conducted at the NMRTC Bremerton Detachment Puget Sound Naval Shipyard lab, approximately 25,535 at the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit Bangor lab and approximately17,750 at the NMRTU Everett lab. Three blood drives also collected 120 units.

Providing timely and direct support for COVID-19 testing has become the lab focal point over the past year, and has only added to the routine high operational-tempo of the staff.

"The laboratory became the gateway of all COVID-19 testing in our immediate region. The laboratory had to step up and tackle the pandemic head on with no reduction in schedules. When USS Nimitz was tasked to deploy last year, all of our staff came in over the weekend to order over 4,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests, coordinate logistics, processing, shipping and DOD testing to support getting the carrier underway for deployment as scheduled," Geisler said.

Lab staff also took part in providing approximately 5,750 COVID swab tests for Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Bangor; and approximately 4,250 COVID swab tests for Submarine Group Nine commands.

"When we receive the COVID samples we have to make sure that the sample is correct and acceptable for testing before tested or sent for reference studies," added Geisler. "Our microbiology bench received and validated four FDA approved infectious disease diagnostic analyzers to test COVID-19 and respiratory panels as well as another molecular testing system that can handle 400 COVID tests a day.

"With the implementation of those analyzers, the wait time for COVID-19 results went from three to seven days to mere hours. The efforts of the lab have helped to identify patients that have been infected with COVID-19, which has been instrumental in the care and further precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19," explained Geisler.

The lab team is comprised of two officers, two pathologists, 27 enlisted personnel and 11 civilians. The majority of young Sailors have arrived at NMRTC Bremerton for their first duty station. Their training and understanding of their chosen specialty, as well as work-ethic, has continually been put to the test during every conducted test.

"Our preparedness comes from rigorous training and the constant need to perform daily checks to ensure that everything runs smoothly in the laboratory," Geisler stated. "Most of the techs that we receive are straight from lab school. They have a huge responsibility on their shoulders as soon as they set foot in the laboratory, perhaps more so than any other department in the hospital. They all have done a phenomenal job. I am very proud of them!"

Along with all their in-house lab efforts, NMRTC Bremerton also sent two staff to assist with the collection and testing of COVID samples on Guam in response to fleet concentration outbreaks. Another lab officer was sent to augment U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka to assist with conducting PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID testing and facilitate management procedural changes there and at Branch Health Clinic Iwakuni.

The DOD's new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, has been the second major focus for laboratory staff. The command supported the rollout of the new system along the west coast. Staff went on temporary assigned duty to provide subject matter expert assistance at Naval Health Clinic Lemoore, Branch Health Clinic Fallon, NMRTC 29 Palms and six clinics, Naval Branch Health Clinic Port Hueneme, and 13 small outlying clinics of NMRTC Pendleton.

NMRTC Bremerton's Laboratory has been fully accredited by the College of American Pathologists, American Society for Clinical Pathology and American Association of Blood Banks. It is also licensed and the Food and Drug Administration.

You also may be interested in...

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) -Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/26/2020

This memorandum provides force health protection (FHP) deployment and redeployment guidance for Service members (including Reserve Component (RC) and National Guard members in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) and DoD civilian employees deploying within and outside the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with references (a) and (b).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Guidance for Commanders on Risk-Based Changing of Health Protection Condition Levels During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/20/2020

This memorandum provides guidance for commanders to consider when making decisions to change health protection condition (HPCON) levels as COVID-19 pandemic conditions on and adjacent to our installations begin to improve.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Resuming Elective Surgical, Invasive, and Dental Procedures in Military Medical and Dental Treatment Facilities

Publication
5/19/2020

This memorandum provides guidance on how each Military Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) and Dental Treatment Facility (DTF) may resume elective medical and dental procedures.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Modification and Reissuance of DoD Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 -Travel Restrictions

Publication
4/20/2020

All DoD Service members will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect. All DoD civilian personnel, and dependents of DoD Service members and DoD civilian personnel, whose travel is Government-funded will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Implementation Guidance for Presidential Memorandum, "Providing Federal Support for Governor's Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 ," Dated April 7, 2020

Publication
4/14/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Publication
4/14/2020

A chart outlining the various Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | About TRICARE

Memorandum on Providing Federal Support for Governors' Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19

Publication
4/14/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Delegation of Authority for Reserve Component Activation Authorities during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Response

Publication
4/10/2020

This delegation assigns to the Service Secretaries the authority to activate Reserve Component personnel and to modify their orders as needed to employ and retain them for the COVID-19 response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Authorization to Employ Military Medical Capabilities to Treat COVID-19 Patients

Publication
4/8/2020

Effective immediately, the Commander, U.S Northern Command, is authorized, as he deems necessary and appropriate, to employ military medical capabilities under his operational control to treat patients who have contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Decision Memorandum on TRICARE Implementation of the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act"

Publication
4/7/2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Public Law 116-127, Division F, Section 6006(a), limits TRICARE authority to impose copayment or other cost-sharing for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and related provider visits that result in orders for or administration of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, cleared, or authorized diagnostic products. In order for the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to implement, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)) must acknowledge the self-executing authority of the statute and direct the Director, DHA, or designee, to issue guidance implementing the statutory provisions.

Recommended Content:

About TRICARE | Coronavirus

DoD Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

Publication
4/5/2020

Effective immediately, to the extent practical, all individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers (this does not include in a Service member's or Service family member's personal residence on a military installation).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Policy on Accessions and Accessions Training during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Publication
4/3/2020

The Military Departments must seek ways to maximize accessions in a responsible manner to minimize a reduction in military end strength and the potential deterioration of mid-and long-term readiness and capacity.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Transition of Military Medical Treatment Facilities from Military Departments to the Defense Health Agency during the COVID-19 Response

Publication
4/2/2020

The Department's MTF transition plan is conditions-based. While the transition of MTFs to DHA is continuing, the COVID-19 response requirements are impacting DHA's ability to meet all required conditions. The need for the DHA and MILDEPs to refocus efforts away from the transition to support the COVID-19 response led to questions regarding the future of MTF Transition.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health System Transformation

Tiered Telehealth Health Care Support for COVID-19

Publication
3/31/2020

This memorandum establishes guidance for the use of Telehealth (TH) Information Technology (IT) tools in support of the clinical care required for patients across the spectrum of COVID-19 illness

Recommended Content:

About TRICARE | Public Health | Coronavirus

Pharmacy Guidance for Market MTFs

Publication
3/31/2020

Message to Pharmacy Beneficiaries regarding military pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | TRICARE Pharmacy Operations | About TRICARE
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 4
Refine your search
Last Updated: January 14, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.