Sutter Health, Eden Medical Center
News Room

Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

We recently held an Open House for employees to learn more about the new hospital construction and explore the layout of the new facility and campus. It was at this event that many staff members learned for the first time that, when the new hospital opens in 2013, the campus will be smoke free.

A smoke-free campus means that smoking will not be allowed anywhere on the hospital property, including the grounds, gardens and parking areas, by any person – including employees, physicians, volunteers, patients and visitors.

We are taking this bold step because the new hospital brings a renewed and heightened commitment to our mission to improve the health of the individuals and communities we serve. Without a doubt, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. We believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue and promote a healthier environment.

Eden Medical Center has offered an array of smoking cessation programs for many years to help decrease tobacco use in our community. Looking ahead, we will multiply our outreach efforts and use coaching and support to address staff and visitors using tobacco on hospital grounds. Tobacco-free initiatives have the potential to improve the health of thousands, reduce health care costs, improve workplace safety and contribute to community health improvement.

Hospitals across the country are adopting smoke-free campus policies successfully by reaching out to staff, patients and visitors with effective alternatives to smoking to reduce stress. As a leader in improving health care in our community, we believe this effort is well worth undertaking.

This is just the beginning of this conversation about a smoke-free campus.
We welcome suggestions from you and leading health experts on the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use and boost our outreach efforts.

“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke is deadly.”
Dr. Richard H. Carmona,
U.S. Surgeon General Report, July 2006

Planning Is Underway for Transition to New Hospital

by George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center


Although we are still nearly two years away from moving into the new hospital, teams of employees and physicians have already started planning for the transition to the new building. We call the move a “transition” rather than a move, because it’s a process that involves bringing with us good practices, good people and good programs, while entering a new era of health care. Not only will patients be treated in a new environment, but that environment and the people that provide services will do so with state-of-the-art equipment and support systems that will make care more efficient, and in surroundings that are focused on the comfort and safety for our patients and their families.

Our “transition teams” include our managers, physicians and employees from every department in the hospital. When I think of the journey ahead, I find myself thinking about the people who will make this a reality. Healthcare people work well with uncertainty, with making sense of the challenge of illness and injury and finding the right course of action that results in healing. Caregivers face this every day with patients. We are fortunate to have a great team of people who are passionate about their work and committed to making this transition the best possible experience for everyone involved.

While 2013 seems like a long time away, it is so short when you look at the level of detail involved in transitioning to a new hospital. It’s a monumental task that cannot even be described well in a simple blog post. So, we will break it down into smaller, easier to digest, pieces as time goes on. It will both informative and comforting for all to know the level of effort both necessary and desired to make sure this is done right. It will involve everything from testing equipment and systems to rehearsing the actual move of patients on that one day not too long from now. There is much to be done and we’re both excited and challenged by the task at hand.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress and look forward to your comments.

Straight Talk from the CEO
By George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center


Since the early stages of planning to replace Eden Medical Center, there’s been a lingering question on people’s minds: what name will the new hospital carry? All of the initial planning and building documents have used the name Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, and the reference has stayed with us through construction and even on this blog site.

We were well aware that many people in the community, and certainly within the Eden family itself, were disappointed at the prospect of losing the original name

The name Eden has been connected with the hospital since it opened in 1954 has come to mean so much for the thousands of people who have been treated here for illness and injury, who delighted at the birth of a child or participated in our events and classes. For the thousands of employees, physicians and volunteers here, the name Eden is as familiar as family..

So, today I am pleased to tell you that the name will continue. Eden Medical Center will be the name of the new hospital when it opens.

I share in the excitement of this conclusion, because of what it has meant and continues to mean to our community. There is a history here that cannot and will not be erased, and a legacy will be passed on to future generations to continue the excellent and compassionate care that you have come to expect.

Traffic Alert!

The Lake Chabot Road entrance to the hospital’s parking garage was closed today to accommodate work on the underground utilities. Workers began early this morning to remove the driveway and dig the trench to reach the work areas.

The access to and from Lake Chabot Road from this site will remain closed the entire month of September.

Employees, physicians and visitors may access the garage from the hospital’s main campus driveway, adjacent to the Emergency Department.

Visitors may still park in the parking lots on the hospital campus, or in the parking garage with a pedestrian bridge located on the 5th level. Proceed with caution as more traffic is now directed to the main driveway.

We have Security posted to help ease confusion and direct traffic.

by George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center

Nearly a year after the California Nurses Association filed a challenge to prevent Sutter Health from rebuilding Eden Medical Center, the petition has been denied. The judgment by Alameda County Superior Court was entered on July 7, 2010, and the Order Denying the Petition is now on the court’s website case # RG09462329. You can also view a PDF version of the judge’s order.

For all of us at Eden Medical Center, and more importantly, residents of Alameda County, this is very good news. We have always believed that this misguided attempt to stop a State-mandated rebuilding project was not based upon merit. Gratefully, the court agreed with our position.

On July 1, 2009, we broke ground to begin the project, just weeks after receiving approval of our Environmental Impact Report from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Despite the union’s challenge filed last year, work continued without hesitation. As a result, we remain on the very tight schedule to meet the opening date of January 2013.  Any delay caused by this action would have put the timely opening, if not the project, in jeopardy.

When completed, the 230,000-square-foot hospital and 80,000-square-foot medical office building will provide assurance to the people of Alameda County that it will not only withstand a significant earthquake, but remain operational to aide victims affected by it.

The entire steel framework has been completed, and work continues to at a rapid pace.
Weather permitting through the end of this year, the project team hopes to have the exterior and roofs completed, weather tight before the spring rains, and begin working in earnest on the interior finishes.

Topping Off Ceremony Celebrates the Achievements of the Construction Teams

Workers shake hands at teh top of the structural steel following placement of the signed beam

Workers shake hands at teh top of the structural steel following placement of the signed beam

For the past week, the sun was shining brightly as Eden Medical Center employees, physicians, volunteers, patients and community members stopped at the construction site to sign the celebratory steel beam. The construction teams were on site working in perfect weather to keep the construction project on pace. At the end of each day, many took the opportunity to add their signatures to the crossbeam that would be hoisted to fit in the last spot at the highest structural point of the steel structure.

By Tuesday morning, the rain and wind returned, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of everyone who gathered for to mark the special occasion. About 200 people gathered under cover of the parking garage to congratulate the construction teams, sign the beam and cheer as the beam was lifted into place.

The American flag was paced atop the beam prior to liftoff

The American flag was paced atop the beam prior to liftoff

As is the tradition in the construction industry, the Topping Off Ceremony marks the moment when the highest structural point in the building construction has been attained. The last steel beam is signed and hoisted into place. An evergreen tree and US flag are placed on the beam to symbolize that the building project has proceeded well, with a clean safety record, and to bring good fortune to the future inhabitants of the building.

Eden Anesthesiologist Dr. Frank Rico, former EMC board member, checks out the signatures after adding his name to the beam

Eden Anesthesiologist Dr. Frank Rico, former EMC board member, checks out the signatures after adding his name to the beam

Eden Medical Center CEO George Bischalaney welcomed the crowd and thanked them for supporting the efforts. He stated that this milestone was as significant to the community as it was to the construction teams, as the dream of a new hospital becomes reality. DPR Construction executive George Hurley thanked the steelworkers and every contractor on the job for their great work, and commended Sutter Health Project Director Digby Christian for keeping the project moving forward.

We’ll post more information about the trades and the next steps in the project soon.  Let us know if you have questions or comments for any member of the Project Team.

Topping Off Ceremony on April 27


The construction of the new Sutter hospital is quickly reaching another major milestone. On Tuesday, April 27, we will have our Topping Off Ceremony at the site at 10:00 a.m. We invite our employees, physicians, volunteers, neighbors and friends to join us for this special event.

The topping off ceremony is a tradition within the construction industry that marks the moment when the highest structural point in the building construction has been attained.
The last steel beam is signed and hoisted into place. An evergreen tree and US flag are placed on the beam to symbolize that the building project has proceeded well and safely, and to bring good fortune to the future inhabitants of the building.

You can also be a part of history in the making!

Join us at one of the dates and times below to add your signature to the steel beam that will be affixed to the top of the steel tower. The beam will be located inside the construction parking zone across from the Emergency entrance, with convenient public parking in the nearby garage. Our staff will be on hand with markers at these time:

Friday, April 23
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Monday, April 26
7:00 -9:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 27
7:00 – 9:00 a.m.

You may also sign the memorial book that will be placed in a time capsule for the new building. If you miss our beam signing, the book will be available all year at various events for signatures and messages.

Our thanks to DPR Construction and every worker on the project for bringing us one step closer to a new hospital.

Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

shakemap2While California earthquake safety legislation is the driving force behind new hospital construction such as ours, earthquake safety doesn’t begin or end with new construction. For many years, Eden Medical Center has participated in the California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (CSMIP) by placing seismic motion sensors in the building to gather vital information when an earthquake strikes.

Recently, the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project team reached agreement with the California Department of Conservation to place sensors in the new hospital once it is completed. The agreement is good news for seismic research, and it ensures that Castro Valley joins other Sutter hospitals with seismic sensors, including Sutter Coast Hospital, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and Novato Community Hospital. New construction at Mills Peninsula and California Pacific Medical Center will also have seismic instrumentation to provide essential data on San Andreas fault activity and to record the performance of the unique seismic structural systems employed at these facilities.

The instruments are part of a statewide network of strong motion instruments that ensures any strong ground motion, from a moderate to larger size earthquake, in California will be recorded.


Monitoring the Data

The CSMIP installations are advanced earthquake monitoring devices called accelerographs, which are placed at various representative geologic foundation materials to measure the ground shaking. When activated by earthquake shaking, the devices produce a record from which important characteristics of ground motion (acceleration, velocity, displacement, duration) can be calculated.

Accelerographs that are installed in buildings such as hospitals, bridges, dams, utilities and industrial facilities are selected by engineers and scientists representing industry, government, and universities. The program has installed more than 900 stations, including 650 ground-response stations, 170 buildings, 20 dams and 60 bridges. Many of these installations can be found locally along the Hayward fault (see map for more information).

The Office of Statewide Health and Planning and Development (OSHPD) arranged for CSMIP to begin instrumenting hospital buildings in 1989, and the program has instrumented 29 hospitals and health facilities throughout California.

Significant strong motion records have been helpful in shaping California’s seismic safety standards. Data gathered from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, for example, led to changes in California’s Uniform Building Code and gave engineers a greater understanding about the integrity of building structures after an earthquake.

An example of an accelerometer, placed at the Los Angeles Fire Command Center.

An example of an accelerometer, placed at the Los Angeles Fire Command Center.


The CSMIP is a program within the California Geological Survey of the California Department of Conservation and is advised by the Strong Motion Instrumentation Advisory Committee, a committee of the California Seismic Safety Commission. Current program funding is provided by an assessment on construction costs for building permits issued by cities and counties in California, with additional funding from the California Department of Transportation, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the California Department of Water Resources, and other agencies.

More Resources

To learn more about the data collection and dissemination process, visit the CSMIP Website. To view existing data gathered from recent California earthquakes, visit the Center for Engineering Strong Motion Data.

All photos courtesy of the California Department of Conservation.

by Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director


Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley is still under construction, but it is already earning international recognition. The project’s social media program is the winner of the 2009 Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) Excellence in New Communications Award for External Communications & Communities in the Nonprofit Division.

The honors were shared with developers Creative Sage/Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates and G2 Communications, Inc., social media strategy and communications consultants.

The award winners were announced at the 4th Annual SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards gala at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley is a $320 million construction project to replace Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

The Society for New Communications Research Awards program honors innovative organizations that are pioneering the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities, and collaborative technologies in the areas of media, marketing, public relations, advertising, entertainment, education, politics and social initiatives.

“The Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley social media program has been precedent-setting in the health care field. It has included using a variety of social media tools—a blog site with a Webcam, video, architectural renderings and other multimedia content, plus popular social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FriendFeed and YouTube—to engage the community in open discussion about the design and construction of a new hospital,” said Project Communications Director Cassandra Clark. “We set out to reach new audiences and involve them in our process, and we discovered new ways to have conversations between the public and the project team, including the architects, engineers and president of the hospital. It’s a major shift in how we communicate, and we are seeing positive results.”

SNCR Senior Fellow Albert Maruggi nominated the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley Social Media Project, the first social media project of its kind undertaken by Sutter Health as a pilot program, for the award.

Business author Shel Israel, who is also a Senior SNCR Fellow and Advisory Board member, included the story of the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley social media project in his recently published book, Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods (pp. 103-105), and agreed with Mr. Maruggi that the SMCCV project could qualify for a SNCR Award. They both remarked that they “loved the story” and found this social media outreach project to be “unique, a first of its kind” as a health care community advocacy program.

“Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley’s social media program is an impressive example of the successful and innovative use of new tools, technologies, solutions and practices to enhance communications and relationships,” commented Jen McClure, founder and president of the Society.

A list of winners and all the winning case studies submitted to this year’s SNCR awards program have been published on the Society’s website.

Eden Medical Center received the Silver Medal of Honor from the Department of Health & Human Services for achieving national goals for organ and tissue donation for two consecutive years. Eden, the regional trauma center for Alameda County, works closely with the California Transplant Donor Network to identify possible candidates for organ and tissue donation, and in turn with families to ensure that their wishes are met.

The work of the many caregivers at Eden– including the Trauma Team, ICU, surgical team, respiratory care and social work services – is heart wrenching when a young life is taken. Their efforts on behalf of families and those in need or organ or tissue donation brings a sense of hope and the knowledge that many other lives can be saved or improved.

Read the entire story in this week’s Oakland Tribune.

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    We have launched a Social Media outreach program, using the Web to keep you informed about our progress in building the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, a Sutter Health affiliate, which will eventually replace Eden Medical Center. We want to provide you with a forum to interact with us so we can address your questions and concerns.

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