by Jeffrey W. Wright, Heliplanners, Aviation Planning Consultants
Heliplanners is proud to have been involved with the replacement hospital project at Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley. One of the first items in this major project was to relocate the existing at-grade helistop (helicopter landing area) to make room for construction of the new hospital building. Heliplanners was brought on board to assist the overall project team with the site selection, planning, design and permitting for the new helistop.
The selected site provides ready access to the Emergency Department while meeting all aviation design criteria including the all-important airspace obstruction-clearance criteria. The site presented some challenges to build in an area that will be used throughout construction, and then link to the new hospital once it opens in 2013. We had to take into consideration the airspace clearance, existing structures, ongoing construction and most direct access to the Trauma Center. The first step was for the construction crews to prepare the site, which was to grade a small hill just 150 feet from the existing location.
With a nod toward overall community disaster preparedness, the new helistop is designed to accommodate aircraft as large as the Sikorsky Blackhawk, which is used by most military branches including the Coast Guard and National Guard. This allows the Medical Center to accommodate that helicopter for disaster relief in event of a major earthquake, wildfire, terrorist attack, airline or train accident, etc. Of course, the typical patient transports would be provided with much smaller helicopters locally by REACH, CALSTAR, Stanford LifeFlight and CHP.
Heliplanners assisted Sutter Health‘s project team by providing liaison and permitting assistance with the Federal Aviation Administration, Caltrans Division of Aeronautics and the Alameda County Airport Land Use Commission. We also assisted the project team with countless details related to construction of the helistop to ensure that, when completed, it would qualify for the Heliport Permit issued by Caltrans Division of Aeronautics during its final inspection. Caltrans inspected the helistop and issued the permit on October 27, 2009.
Heliplanners, based in Temecula, California, has assisted hospital, law enforcement, fire department and corporate clients with heliport development throughout the United States since 1987. In that time, we have been involved with well over 125 heliport projects in over 20 states. We congratulate Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley on the excellence of its approach to the entire hospital reconstruction project, providing a state-of-the-art medical center for Castro Valley residents.
The Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project reached another major milestone with the official opening of the newly relocated helicopter landing site today.The site received approval for use following the final state permit inspection earlier this week by the CalTrans Division of Aeronautics.
On Wednesday, October 28, a small group of staff, Foundation trustees and donors, board members, and contractors gathered to commemorate the milestone with a Dedication Ceremony conducted by Eden Medical Center chaplain, Rev. Al Valencia. Overlooking the site from the top of the parking garage, the crowd cheered as the final blessing was made. Moments later, CalStar landed its newest medical helicopter to more cheers, and the Trauma Team assembled for training. For several hours, staff members and flight crews from CalStar and Reach Air Medical Services conducted training to ensure safe and efficient transport of patients from the new site to the Trauma Room.
The opening of the helipad less than 4 months after the groundbreaking is a remarkable feat by every member of the Project Team. But crews are wasting no time, beginning work immediately to remove the landing site, the last structure remaining in the footprint for the building project. Crews can now focus on work on the entire foundation of the new hospital.
We’ll have more news from the experts about the new site and the latest medical helicopters that are quieter, safer and better for the environment.
Photo of the collapsed Cypress Overpass, courtesy of U.S. Geological Society.
by Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
This week we are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The media will cover the remembrances, the progress we have made since then, the victims, the heroes.
Those of us who were around then have memories of this momentous event. My memories are perhaps much more vivid than most. That single event changed my life, changed my career, and ignited in me a passion for health care and the important work we do.
I had worked at Eden Hospital only 2 months when the earthquake hit. My boss was on vacation, camping in the desert far away from news of the quake, and I was a newbie just learning the ropes. I left work that day just before 5 to get home to meet some friends to watch the World Series. I was driving my VW convertible down Castro Valley Blvd. when the ground started shaking and the road before me started moving like a snake. I thought my tires were falling off and that the street lights above would fall on me! I drove the few minutes to get home, only to find the power out and the phones dead. So I headed back to the hospital to check in, as per our protocol
I didn’t leave the hospital for two days.
We had 42 patients from earthquake-related injuries that night in Emergency and Trauma. The worst were from the Cypress structure collapse in Oakland, brought to our Trauma Center. Not knowing the details, I went first to the Emergency Room, where I sat and listened to one young man talk about leaving his car on the collapsed upper portion of the freeway, climbing down the side of the concrete rubble, and then calling his mom to pick him up. He had an injury to his mouth and was shaken, but he told us the details of what happened. I still remember his face, his name, the shocking details of his story. The TV in the corner of the waiting room was showing news coverage from Oakland and San Francisco, and I got word out to the hospital staff so they would know what was happening.
We set up the Command Center sometime later. Soon, the reporters started showing up and the media calls poured in from all over the country, all over the world. Gloria, my co-worker, and I gathered information from every department, and talked to patients and families. As the spokesperson for the hospital, I conducted interviews for the next two days and, as it turned out, for many months that followed. I was so tired at 4 a.m. when Harry Smith from CBS New York called that I could hardly get the words out. It wasn’t my best interview, but I was new at this! We tried our hardest to keep all the information straight: how many patients, where they were from, what their injuries were. We had calls from families trying to find loved ones. We had calls from local residents wanting to know how to help. Reporters from other parts of the country were under the impression that the entire SF Bay Area was reduced to rubble, and they wondered how we could even take care of patients.
Over the next several days, I got to know so many of the patients and their stories. Some did interviews, some just wanted to talk privately. Some couldn’t talk, their injuries were so severe the nurses didn’t think they would survive. Two patients from one van on the Cypress freeway were the most severely injured, but they survived, and I remember them and their stories as if it were yesterday. I met their families and got to know them over the next six months or so. And I saw the incredible care that Eden Medical Center’s staff provided. The doctors, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, physical therapists, social workers: all of them played such an important role in their medical and emotional care.
It was because of this experience that I knew that I was in the right place, that the mission and purpose of our organization was alive and carried out in the most complex, and the simplest, ways. We all made a difference, and we were all here for one reason: to take care of the people who need us in the most critical times. It didn’t matter what our role was, we all had a responsibility to take care of them and their families. I didn’t check vitals or change dressings, but i could spend time with each of them, help them process what had happened, help them tell their stories if they wanted. I could help their families and our staff with simple things to make their lives there easier.
A year later, we held a press conference with a couple of the patients who survived, along with their doctors and nurses. It was an emotionally charged event, before and after the conference, for one patient in particular. The memories were so vivid and frightening, but she wanted, or perhaps needed, to talk about it, to see the trauma surgeon and staff, to process what had happened. Years later I saw her and her colleague on a PBS special, talking about their lives since the earthquake. My heart ached, and still does, for the pain they endured. Their lives were never the same. I don’t know where they are now, but I still think of them, pray for them, and wonder if they were able to persevere.
Five years after the earthquake, I met a woman who came into the hospital to give birth to twin boys. She, too, was severely injured in the earthquake and came to our trauma center that night. She had such severe abdominal injuries that she was told later by her doctor that she would not be able to have children. But life had other plans for her. On this day, October 17, 1994 — the 5th anniversary of the quake — she gave birth to her “miracle” boys. The trauma surgeon who saved her life 5 years earlier assisted in the delivery. They are 15 now, and I wonder if they know how incredible their story is.
These stories, and many others, are on my mind as we approach the 20th anniversary of the quake. It amazes me how much our lives are intertwined by such an event. And how each person I met has their own memories, and their own scars.
I am also grateful for the experience, for all that I learned as a result, and for finding my passion in my career. Today, as I work with the Project Team to build a new hospital, I am reminded why this project is so important. I am proud of the tradition of care at Eden, and proud to be working toward construction of a new hospital so that the tradition can continue for many years to come.
By George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center
Health care reform is on the agenda, again. The stakes are high, but our President is determined to make some significant changes. As the discussion moves from general to specifics, special interests are staking out their positions. None of the stakeholders—hospitals included—wants to feel the impact or be at a disadvantage.
Amidst the demand for cost reduction and health care coverage for all, there is and must be continued investment in care. Physicians demand it. They expect to be able to practice with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to produce outcomes that meet national, state and local quality standards. Patients demand it. They want to know that their local hospital has the right number of well-trained staff as well as the latest diagnostic and treatment equipment, and contemporary facilities.
With this backdrop of conflicting needs, Eden Medical Center is about to begin a three-year project that will result in the replacement of the Castro Valley hospital. The project cost is estimated to be $320 million. The current 55-year-old building is anything but contemporary. With few private rooms, small operating rooms and inadequate support space for clinical services, a new hospital is very much needed.
Eden Medical Center has served the community well, but it was not designed for patient comfort and needs, more for staff needs and functionality. While our project may seem ill timed given the uncertainty of hospital reimbursement, we are required to meet California legislated standards for seismic safety in hospitals. And it truly is needed.
We’ll celebrate our long sought goal with a ground-breaking ceremony on July 1st. Then we’ll spend the next three years continuing the investment in the new buildings and equipment, while observing and hoping that decision makers do not enact legislation that essentially penalizes us for the commitment we are making. When we celebrate the grand opening and our new beginning early in 2013, it should be with the same hope and dreams as those who celebrated the first ceremony in 1954.
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
To follow up on the May 12, 2009 Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, the decision to certify the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been delayed to June 9th to address concerns raised about San Leandro Hospital, which is leased and operated as part of Eden Medical Center, but owned by the Eden Township Healthcare District (the District). For more information, please see our previous blog post.
In the days prior to the May 12th meeting, after many rounds of public commentary, and after the EIR and related land use entitlements were approved by the Castro Valley MAC (Municipal Advisory Council) and the Alameda County Planning Commission, several community members and labor representatives raised last minute concerns about parts of the EIR. Those opposed to the EIR certification claim that there was not an adequate assessment of the impact of any possible closure or change of services at San Leandro Hospital, despite the fact that the EIR consultant and County planning staff have stated that the EIR is complete and the issues around San Leandro Hospital, while not related to the project, have no impact on the project. Supervisor Nate Miley made a motion for the Board to meet again to make the decision on June 9, 2009, which would provide attorneys for Alameda County an opportunity to examine these claims in more detail.
Supervisors Miley and Haggerty voiced their concerns about speakers making false or misleading allegations as a political tactic, in order to delay the EIR approval process, thereby “holding the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project for ransom,” which he and the other Supervisors warned could endanger the future of both Eden and San Leandro Hospitals. While there has been no decision by Sutter Health or the District on the future of San Leandro Hospital, the issue remains a topic of community discussion.
Eden Medical Center President & CEO George Bischalaney and other Sutter and Eden project team members emphasized the urgency of not going beyond June 9th to approve the EIR, as the delay of even a month could significantly hold up construction and may cause Sutter Health to withdraw its support from both hospitals. Sutter Health has already promised the $320 million to pay for the completion of the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley.
At the conclusion of the May 12th meeting, the four Supervisors present, with Supervisor Keith Carson absent, voiced their support for the new hospital project and the need to rebuild Eden Medical Center. They also are concerned about the future of San Leandro Hospital, and that concerns over San Leandro should perhaps be discussed in another forum, unrelated to the land use entitlements for Eden.
As our project team discussed in previous articles and blog posts and at the hearing, any delays in approvals and construction have serious repercussions, in terms of meeting state deadlines to rebuild, in creating a safe environment for patients and staff, and in funding this major project. The new hospital must be rebuilt, or it will close as an acute care facility effective January 1, 2013. We now have before us a fully funded hospital project—without public funding or taxes—that will secure the future of Eden Medical Center, preserve jobs and bring nearly 1,000 construction jobs to the region at a time when the economy is depressed and construction is drying up.
As I stated before, the issues around San Leandro Hospital are complex and important. The community has a right to know what is happening. But the information being discussed now is no different that it has been for the past several years: the hospital is struggling and must be reinvented to bring value to the community and ensure that it can sustain itself over time. It is clear to me that the residents of San Leandro desire a full service community hospital, yet the majority of them will never use it. The community and local elected officials have known that this is a concern, and yet this last minute effort to stop the EIR based on what some claim to be “new information” is not justified. San Leandro Hospital, its employees, physicians and patients need to be part of the solution for the hospital, to be discussed in its own forum with regional providers who can bring truth and substance to the discussion. It should not be used as a political maneuver to stop Sutter Health from rebuilding Eden.
Please speak up, let our Board of Supervisors know they must not delay any further. These delays put both hospitals in jeopardy. I encourage you to stand up and let your voice be heard on this issue. Don’t just wait for the next hearing, but instead pick up the phone or send a letter to the Board and let them know you support the new hospital project, and encourage them to certify the EIR so the project can move forward before it’s too late.
Supervisor Nate Miley — 510-272-6694
Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker — 510-272-6693
Supervisor Gail Steele — 510-272-6692
Supervisor Keith Carson — 510-272-6695
Supervisor Scott Haggerty — 510-272-6691
By Jesús Armas, Government Affairs Liaison
As we discussed in previous posts, acute care hospitals must meet certain earthquake standards by 2013. Failure to meet these standards means that hospitals must cease operations. Recognizing the critical role Eden Medical Center plays in meeting the health care needs of the community, Sutter Health previously expressed its commitment to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital in Castro Valley. Yet, this important project can move forward only if it obtains certain approvals from the County.
We are pleased to report that this project is getting closer to becoming a reality as a result of important decisions by the Alameda County Planning Commission.
On April 6, the Commission voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that it certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and modify various General Plan and zoning regulations to allow this project to advance closer to the start of construction.
During the Commission meeting some public speakers expressed concern about the future of San Leandro Hospital. While the Commissioners acknowledged the points expressed by the speakers, they also expressed their unwavering support for this project, and stressed the importance of not imposing obstacles to the start of construction.
With a favorable recommendation from the Commission, project consideration now advances to the Board of Supervisors. UPDATE: On May 12th, the Board will hold a public hearing on the project (postponed from the original date of April 28th). At that time, the Board will be asked to approve the project based on overwhelmingly favorable public testimony to date, and positive recommendations not only from the Alameda County Planning Commission but also the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council and County Planning Staff. Assuming a favorable Board action, site work will commence this summer. Overall, construction will take between 24 and 30 months.
We will update this blog with additional information about the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 12th when we are notified. As always, we welcome your questions, concerns and comments.
By Jack Alotto, President & CEO of Eden Medical Center Foundation
My name is Jack Alotto. I am the President & CEO of Eden Medical Center Foundation. I’ve been raising money for non-profit organizations for more than 20 years in health care as well as the arts and social services. At Seton Medical Center Foundation in Daly City, we raised more than $1 million and increased Seton’s employee giving campaign by 600% in my first year.
I also started the first planned giving program for the City Library of Santa Clara, California. We even created a used bookstore and café called Friends of the Library—we made great cappuccinos!
For the past two years now, I’ve been steering the ship at Eden Foundation, and we are fortunate to have a very active board with 17 members, including Lawrence Dickinson, M.D., one of the top neurosurgeons in the East Bay and our board chairman.
All the money we raise helps ensure that patients and the community we care for have the most technologically advanced, highest quality care available. We pay for medical equipment, clinical training and continuing education for our staff, plus health education seminars for our community, and health care for our uninsured residents.
I’m proud to say that in the last two years we’ve raised more than $4,000,000, while keeping our costs surprisingly low. We owe our highest admiration and heartfelt gratitude to you, our patients and members of the community for your generous donations and participation in our special events. And a special thank you to our physicians and employees who give the Foundation tremendous support.
Take a look at the prolific list of equipment and community service programs your donations paid for last year. Donor Gifts Have Gone a Long Way in 2008…
With contributions from individuals, physicians and staff, corporations and foundations, Eden Medical Center Foundation has made the following gifts to Eden Medical Center:
Tools to Enhance Patient Care
• A new CT Scanner for San Leandro Hospital provides improved diagnostic services to inpatients and outpatients
• Laerdal Airway Management Training equipment for trauma nurses to sharpen their airway management skills through realistic practice
• Two blood pressure/pulse ox/temperature monitors keep triage equipment up-to-date
• Four new trauma monitors providing state-of-the-art monitoring of trauma patients to enable health care providers to have immediate and ongoing assessment of trauma patients
• An exercise bicycle at Laurel Grove Hospital helps rehabilitation patients recover more quickly
• A golf cart for Food and Nutritional Services provides prompt service to patients and reduce the risk of injury to employees
• New IV poles and wheelchairs help nurses and department staff to provide better patient care
• A new LCD/DVD supports ongoing training for Emergency Room and trauma staff
• Bladder scanners allow the neurology/medical/surgical unit and 5th floor surgery department to perform noninvasive monitoring for postoperative patients
• A JUZO Perometer in Rehabilitation Services enhances the level of patient care provided to lymphedema patients
• X-ray imaging is performed during vascular and orthopedic surgical procedures through the use of a radiolucent surgical table
• A pediatric bronchoscope is life-saving equipment trauma surgeons use to address breathing problems of children in the trauma center, thus saving a trip to the operating room.
• Radiology techs underwent training on the best use of the Toshiba Fluoroscopy and Multi-Purpose room to facilitate better patient care.
• Free senior flu clinics were held at San Leandro Hospital and Eden Medical Center
• A Women’s Health Symposium at Eden Medical Center provided an evening of free education on the health risks women face
• Eden Medical Center hosts five cancer support groups for patients and families facing cancer, caregivers and for people mourning a loss.
• Continuing education for nurses keeps Eden’s nurses up-to-date on the latest in health care
• Students at Skyline High School, San Leandro High School and Castro Valley High School go through the anti-alcohol and drug program, Every 15 Minutes
• Social Work Services provides shelter for transients recovering from a wound
• Support for Spiritual Care volunteers working in Social Work Services department
• GE Medical Systems Bone Densitometry Screening equipment allows Eden provide free screening at health fairs and community events
• Community members and Eden employees can take part in smoking cessation programs
• Emergency First Aid Guidelines assist local school staff members in responding to emergencies until medical staff can arrive.
Besides funding projects for our two hospitals in Castro Valley and San Leandro, we have taken on raising money for Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, the hospital that will replace Eden Medical Center.
My vision is that once the doors open, our Foundation will pay for anything the new medical center needs! We have already started our fundraising efforts; last year’s Golf Tournament, which netted more than $60,000, was the first fundraiser on behalf of the new buildings.
So here is our wish list for Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley:
The Need: $25 million
Your generous contribution could provide technological and equipment updates so doctors and nurses can provide patients at the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley with the best in medical care. Advancements in technology for medical tools and equipment mean patients can experience less pain and discomfort, and doctors can perform less invasive procedures. This can translate into shorter recovery times and decreased hospital stays so patients can go home sooner. We constantly strive to improve a patient’s health care experience and state-of-the-art equipment and technology helps us to meet this goal.
Intensive Care, Critical Care and Trauma Center Upgrades
The Need: $15 million
Consider making a gift to help patients in intensive care, critical care and trauma comfortably and safely recover from surgery and other medical procedures. New beds, patient monitors, bedside equipment, and state-of –the-art nurse call systems will improve a patient’s stay and help doctors and nurses better attend to the needs of each patient.
Medical and Surgical Floor Enhancements
The Need: $6 million
Philanthropic support will help us purchase beds and other patient room equipment for Labor and Delivery, the Neuroscience Center and Medical and Surgical Units.
Outpatient Surgery Enhancements
The Need: $3 million
Higher image quality and patient comfort are combined in the newest tools used by physicians and nurses. Your generous gift will enable the Outpatient Surgery Department to replace older, outdated equipment with the latest technology at the new hospital.
We have many giving programs and named gift opportunities available to our donors. If you would like more information about our work at the Foundation and how you can support the new hospital, please call me at the Foundation office at 510-889-5033, or email me.
By Todd Peterson, Vice President of Information Technology, Eden Medical Center
My name is Todd Peterson and I’m Vice President of Information Technology at Eden Medical Center. Castro Valley has been my home for the past 26 years, and I’ve worked for Sutter Health for ten years, joining Eden 2 ½ years ago.
My team is responsible for making sure all computer systems are up and fully functioning 24/7; and while computer repair is a significant part of our business, we are responsible for implementing new technologies that are now vital to many aspects of our patients’ care.
One major project underway that will be a cornerstone of the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley hospital is Electronic Health Records (EHR), a project conceived when I was still at Sutter. Basically the new hospital is being designed with minimal use of paper. That’s right… no more clipboards and illegible handwriting.
The EHR will facilitate all clinical documentation and reporting; all medical disciplines will be recorded. What does this mean? Our physicians will get a full view of a patient’s care at any given time, from any location, once their patient has been admitted to the hospital. So the patient’s medical history as it relates to diagnostics, drug therapy, procedures, diet, rehabilitation and notes generated by physicians and nurses will all be available online. This also includes previous visits to any Sutter Health-owned facility or physician office.
The EHR will ultimately be integrated with biomedical technology. That means much of the clinical equipment in patient rooms—heart monitors, blood pressure cuffs, IV pumps, and even the beds themselves—will feed information directly into the patient records. With real time monitors of the patient’s vitals, a physician can be alerted if a trend in their medical condition warrants medical attention well before a critical threshold is met. So the EHR will be a documentation system and much more; it will provide clinicians with a wider view of what is happening with a patient at all times so they can quickly take action.
Patient records will also show a correlation of clinical events, a true cause and effect. For example, a physician may order medications in response to laboratory test results. Subsequent laboratory tests can then be correlated to the timing of the medication and will demonstrate the degree of effectiveness. This constant correlation gives the entire care team the information they need to deliver the best care at the right time.
The critical exchange between the doctor who is on call and the nurse on duty will also be enhanced by EHR. Without delay, a physician can access the patient’s record from home, while the nurse views the same information from a workstation in the patient’s room so rather than just rely on a verbal exchange they are both viewing the patient’s record.
One of the key benefits of EHR is patient safety. In the area of medication management, physicians will use computerized order entry to address legibility issues and alert the physician to any contra indications, such as allergies, food or other medications that the patient is on. The process of administering the drug involves the nurse scanning the barcodes on the patient’s wristband and medication bottles. The system will confirm the patient’s name, medication name, correct time, correct dose and proper route (oral, or otherwise).
We will provide full accessibility to patient data. All this information, all images, reports, etc. will be available at the patient’s bedside. Every patient room, alcoves between rooms and nurses’ station will be furnished with a computer workstation so patient records can be accessed throughout the hospital. Physicians will also have wireless devices such as PC tablets to provide the most flexibility and mobility throughout the hospital.
Down the road, our patients who see Sutter Health physicians will be able to see their own clinical results online; they’ll be able to email their doctors and arrange appointments, and more importantly, track their own history and take responsibility for their own health. We may even use EHR to work in concert with our county and state health departments to track health trends in the community.
The prospects for EHR are endless. Our patients and clinicians become real partners in the delivery of care over the long term.
Your input is very important to us. I invite you to ask me any questions about the EHR system by either commenting beneath this post (click on the title of the post, if you are on the blog’s front page, and you’ll see the comment box below), or by emailing me.
Sidney Wanetick, M.D.
My name is Sidney Wanetick. For 26 years, I was in practice as an OB-GYN in Castro Valley, and I delivered more than 3,000 babies at Eden Medical Center.
In 2008, I retired from practice to accept the position of Vice President of Medical Affairs at Eden Medical Center. Today, I serve as the administrative liaison between the medical staff and administration, helping to support our physicians as they provide high quality care to our patients now and as we look to the future of Eden.
In addition to other duties, I am actively involved in assisting our physicians in recruiting new physicians to the community.
I’m very excited about the new Sutter Health hospital that is replacing Eden. Several major benefits stand out. In particular, having all private rooms for patients will make a huge difference, bringing more services to their bedsides and giving them more quality time with their doctors.
From the physician’s standpoint, this is a much better way to take care of patients and have important conversations with family members in private, as well as offer patients the privacy and rest needed for recuperation. The nurses’ stations will have a view of every patient’s room for faster response to patient needs.
The whole atmosphere of the new hospital will feel less institutional and more supportive, soothing and restful.
Today, even though Eden has 176 beds, we are unable to utilize all of these beds. Most rooms are semi-private, with very few private rooms and even a few four-bed wards. Yet, we can’t put men and women together, and we can’t mix patients with infections in with the general patient population. So even though Eden is larger, the Sutter replacement hospital will end up with a much better capacity for utilization of services.
Moreover, we are seeing a steady decline in the number of patients admitted to the hospital for more extended periods of time. When I first started my practice we admitted twice as many patients for surgery as we do today. My patients stayed in the hospital for five days or more! Also, if patients were scheduled for surgery, they would be admitted the night before. Today patients often have surgery and are discharged the same day, or, if they are admitted, the average length of stay is much shorter.
In addition to the 130 acute care beds, we’ll have a 34-bed, multi-purpose Universal Care Unit (UCU), which also supports the shorter hospital stay. Let’s say an Emergency Room patient has been treated and needs to stay for observation, but not necessarily be admitted. He or she can rest comfortably in the UCU. Or, if a patient is recovering from same-day surgery, we could have him assigned to a UCU bed where he’ll get the attention he needs.
There will also be vast improvements in our information technology systems that just aren’t possible at Eden; our current system has reached capacity. With the new electronic medical records system, our clinical staff will have access to lab reports, x-rays, medication, etc., right at their fingertips. Recent studies have demonstrated improved outcomes and fewer errors in centers that have electronic records, and the new hospital will have innovative, secure electronic records and data systems.
I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to leave a comment by clicking on the title of this post (if you are on the front page of the blog), and a comment box will appear below.
By George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center
Yesterday, one of Eden Medical Center’s neurosurgeons, Dr. Dickinson blogged about what’s in store for neuroscience at the new Sutter Castro Valley hospital. Coincidentally, Eden was also mentioned in an article in the AARP Bulletin on February 2, which it picked up from the Contra Costa Times.
The article basically said that the State of California through its Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) had released statewide data on “hospital death rates.” This data has been collected for some time and the most recent release includes data for 2007.
Eden was identified as having a “Better-Than-Average” rating for patients who undergo craniotomies, which is a procedure for removing brain tumors. The statewide average was 6.7%, while the rate at Eden was measured at 0.7%. We were one of 25 hospitals, among 400 hospitals statewide, with better than average results, and one of only three in the Bay Area. These results do not come about by accident or good fortune.
Eden has been a designated trauma center in Alameda County for over 20 years. The experience and training of our trauma center staff has helped strengthen the services we offer in surgery, critical care, diagnostics, rehabilitation and general medical care. The methods used by the trauma center surgical team have carried over to every patient treated at Eden.
Building upon the trauma center’s effectiveness and with the support of Sutter Health, Eden established the Sutter East Bay Neuroscience Center several years ago. One of the mainstays of these programs is neurosurgery (brain surgery). Eden is blessed with a core of very highly regarded and skilled neurosurgeons as part of its medical community. It is because of their expertise and our joint commitment to excellence in neurosciences that we have been able to have such outstanding results with this critically ill patient population.
OSHPD has a website with a link to all of the recently released data (go to www.oshpd.ca.gov and click on AHRQ). OSHPD points out that this data is risk adjusted, to ensure that all hospitals are treated fairly and that evidence suggests that high mortality may be associated with deficiencies in the quality of hospital care provided.
Public reporting of hospital data will become more common, and its use by consumers greater over time so that they can be better armed when making important decisions about where to seek their health care services.