Milwaukee VA center cleared to use germ-zapping robots

The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently issued a bid protest decision upholding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ decision to award a sole-source contract for a mercury-free ultraviolet (UV) room disinfection system for Milwaukee’s Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“Because the agency’s market research revealed only one source for a mercury-free UV disinfecting lamp, and because there is no dispute about the hazards of mercury gas exposure, we conclude that the agency’s decision to award the contract on a sole-source basis to the only source of a mercury-free product was reasonable,” the GAO noted in its decision.

The supplier of the mercury-free xenon disinfection lamp is Xenex Disinfection Services, based in San Antonio, Texas. Xenex manufactures and distributes a pulsed xenon UV disinfection system, which utilizes a mercury-free, full-spectrum pulsed xenon UV bulb to quickly destroy the deadly pathogens that cause hospital acquired infections (HAIs).

Xenex’s Germ-Zapping Robot creates UV-C light that covers the entire germicidal spectrum (200 – 280 nanometers). Xenex robots reduce the bacterial load in hospitals that is often associated with an increased risk for HAIs.

According to Xenex, multiple hospitals that purchased Xenex robots have reported greater than 50 percent decreases in MRSA and C.diff infections. Additionally, the Iowa City VA Health Care System reported a 30 percent reduction in C.diff infections, and the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center reported a 50 percent decrease in Multi-Drug Resistant Organism (MDRO) infections after the facilities began using Xenex robots for room disinfection.

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