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.
by George Bischalaney, President & CEO
Every year on this date, May 6, we celebrate the good work of our nurses as part of National Nurses Week, a time set aside to raise awareness of the value of nursing and help educate the public about the role nurses play in meeting the health care needs of the American people.
At Eden Medical Center, we have nearly 700 registered nurses working at our Eden and San Leandro campuses. These amazing people aren’t just faces in a crowd or numbers on a chart. These are men and women who are called to a career of caring for others. In their own lives, they are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, family caregivers, coaches. Here at Eden Medical Center, they are heroes.
My office is located on the first floor of Eden Medical Center, just across the hallway from the Intensive Care Unit waiting room. Every day I am here, I see families concerned about the well-being of their loved ones. Some are encouraged, some are grieving, some stop to talk about their experience at out hospital. And I never take for granted the fact that every person has entrusted their lives to our caregivers. I take comfort that the men and women who are caring for our patients, in any area of our hospitals, are skilled, compassionate people who want the very best for our patients and families.
So, on this day, I want to take pause and thank our nurses for all they do. Their work is never easy. It is complex, highly detailed, often exhausting, and so critical to the lives around them. They have a sense of purpose and a capacity for caring that drives them to give of themselves every day. What a remarkable calling.
Thank you, to all of our nurses, for all that you do for us.
By Bryan Daylor, Vice President, Ancillary & Support Services, Eden Medical Center
In my previous posts, I described how our “user” team approach to planning the new hospital Those of us who head up different functional areas at Eden worked in teams (consisting of managers, supervisors, staff and physicians) to determine the best way to improve the delivery of patient care in the new hospital by implementing industry best practices.
Our focus all along has been on patient safety and quality of care, efficient patient flow and effective use of skilled resources. This work has been an important opportunity to design a building that supports the process of care and enhances the experience for patients and caregivers. We were challenged with the puzzle of creating work space and flow in a new building, but in the end we feel we have achieved an excellent design for the new hospital.
While the construction teams are busy working on the visible sign of progress, we are planning for what goes inside the new building. Our teams are working with the project engineers and architects and some of the key users on what fills the space that we have so carefully designed: the structures and equipment that will be in each room of the new hospital. This space planning includes reviewing the elevations of casework, cabinets, counter tops and work surfaces to ensure that the work areas and surfaces align with work flow and support functions.
Although we have not selected the final medical equipment, we must plan for the equipment that goes into every room. We are taking inventory of the equipment needed and documenting the space allocation and utility needs (electrical, plumbing, data, cooling and ventilation) required for every piece of equipment in every room. There are more than 8,500 pieces of equipment inventoried for the new hospital that must be accounted for in the room-by-room layouts. Over the past four weeks, the team has worked together to review each floor to ensure the drawings are accurate and inclusive of the specific details required to support the equipment and functionality of the space.
The group is also researching and evaluating technological advancements in every discipline to anticipate changes and ensure that, when the new hospital opens, we will have the most up-to-date equipment for our staff and our patients.
I welcome you comments and questions.
Sutter Medical Center Faces Costly Delay, Loss of Construction Jobs as State Deadline Looms
The California Nurses Association (CNA) has filed a lawsuit that threatens the future of the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley now under construction.
“That the nurses union would sue to stop us from building our new hospital after a decade of planning is extremely frustrating to our employees, physicians, volunteers and patients who have worked so hard and so long for this,” said Eden Medical Center President & CEO George Bischalaney. “This political action by the union hurts everyone, puts thousands of jobs in jeopardy, threatens the future of the hospital and could cause irreparable harm to the community.
“This type of action drives up the cost of health care for everyone. After an exhaustive and inclusive public process, the union’s lawsuit could mean will not be able to meet the State’s 2013 deadline to replace the Eden hospital. Not meeting the deadline could result in closure of current hospital before the new hospital is completed and certified for occupancy.”
The Environmental Impact Report and land use entitlements were approved by the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, the Alameda County Planning Commission and Alameda County Board of Supervisors. The first phase of construction has been approved by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Alameda County granted necessary permits and construction started July 1.
The new medical campus will create more than a 1,000 union jobs during the three years of construction and pump millions of dollars into the local economy benefiting many local businesses.
Construction crews demolished the vacant Pine Cone Apartment complex and began relocating the helipad and are readying the site for the foundation of the $320 million, seven-story, 130-bed hospital and regional trauma center. The new medical center will expand needed emergency and urgent care services. A new 80,000-square-foot medical office building for physicians is also planned. Sutter Health is financing the entire project with no public taxes or funding.
Sutter has invested more than $200 million in capital in Eden Medical Center’s facilities since acquiring the hospital from the Eden Township Healthcare District in 1998. The new hospital and medical office buildings would bring this investment in the regional medical campus and trauma center to more than $600 million by 2013.
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
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!
We are only a week away from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors hearing in which the Board will consider the Final Environmental Impact Report, zoning changes, and Castro Valley general plan changes. We are asking for your support at this critical step.
Local groups and some residents of San Leandro are applying fierce political pressure on the Board members to deny approval. Their reason? The future of San Leandro Hospital is unknown, and therefore they are pressuring the Board of Supervisors to require Sutter Health to keep San Leandro Hospital open as a condition of approving the land use for the new hospital in Castro Valley.
What wrong with this? First of all, the Board of Supervisors are not voting on the future of San Leandro Hospital—they are having a public hearing on the land use entitlements and certifying the EIR. To delay or deny approval based on pressure about San Leandro is wrong.
The future of San Leandro Hospital is not and should not be tied to the new hospital. Indeed, San Leandro Hospital is a critical issue that must be addressed—and it requires a regional solution, more careful planning, and a separate focus than this project. It’s an important issue that cannot be overlooked, for the sake of the staff, physicians and patients. But the complex issues at one hospital should not be tied to the land use entitlements for the new hospital project.
Simply stated, by delaying plans for the new hospital, the Board will jeopardize the future of Eden AND San Leandro hospitals.
I am asking you to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 12 and SPEAK UP in favor of our new hospital. Speakers are limited to 3 minutes, but a simple 30-second statement is powerful. The Board needs to know that residents of Castro Valley and surrounding communities want and need this new hospital, without delays.
Tuesday, May 12
Board of Supervisors Meeting Chambers
1221 Oak Street, Oakland
If you cannot attend the meeting, we need to you to contact the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and have you voice your opinion. It is so important that the Board hears from everyone, especially since the majority of people in our community support this project (an astounding 80% of community members are in favor according to recent polls!).
Call your Supervisors today!
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
Thank you for your continued support!
As always, we also appreciate your comments and questions on this blog, and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.
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 George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center
Last week, the Obama Administration kicked off its efforts to address one the President’s stated priorities, health care reform. What does that mean, and what will be the result? I wish I really knew.
According to the President’s advisers—and Obama himself during the campaign—there is a need to extend health care coverage to millions of uninsured people across the country, while reducing cost and improving quality. Truly admirable goals with which very few could disagree.
Early discussion of President Obama’s plan calls for creating a savings of $634 billion over the next ten years to help fund reform. A recent article referred to this as a “down payment” on the overall expected costs. About half of this amount is targeted to come from reduced payments to Medicare and Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California) providers. On the surface, this is a disquieting concept.
Not too long ago, Eden Medical Center was recognized as one of lowest cost hospital providers in California. It should be no surprise that our costs have risen over the past few years. We have invested heavily in new equipment, both in medical technology and information technology, in order to continue to bring state-of-the-art services to our communities, and to provide our physicians and clinical staff the best tools to diagnose and treat our patients.
Last year, our labor settlement with registered nurses resulted in a three-year agreement that will give the nurses a 20% wage increase over the term of the agreement in addition to improved benefits. This kept our wages comparable to other local hospitals.
One of the benefits Eden Medical Center employees enjoy is a fully paid health plan for themselves and their families. Last year, the average cost was approximately $22,000 per year for an employee and family.
Despite these costs, Eden remains one of the lowest cost providers when compared to peer groups throughout the State. But as can be imagined, it is difficult to contain costs in our environment, especially when 60% of our costs are employee-related expenses. We are, after all, a service industry that is people- and technologically-driven.
The early announcements about health care reform create some concern. To expect to realize the savings needed to fund the plan through reduced payments to health care providers is very troubling.
Physicians are increasingly affected by efforts to reduce reimbursement. Many physicians talk of extending their days, working longer hours, much of which is devoted to the increasing amount of paperwork demanded from them. At the same time, we as patients expect them to remain current in the knowledge of new drugs and treatments in order to serve us to the best of their ability. This is resulting in a shrinking primary care base at a time when our population is aging. How does the plan for reform intend to address this?
Government payers of healthcare services for hospitals—the Federal Government for Medicare, and the State for Medi-Cal—are not paying the full cost of care at the present time. For each patient that is covered by Medicare or Medi-Cal, the cost to care for that patient exceeds current reimbursement. Further reductions will increase the gap that is, out of necessity, made up by insured patients—those lucky enough to have coverage through their employers. This is a cycle that needs to be broken if we are to have true health care reform.
The problems with our health care system are very complex. Reducing payments in an attempt to reduce costs will not yield the full reforms that are needed. I can only hope that this is not another piecemeal approach to change. A broader view of the systemic issues is needed. With the President’s staff talking about implementing reforms by the end of this year, it is questionable as to whether or not this will actually occur.
As always, your questions and comments are welcome. We will respond as quickly as possible.
By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
Finding access to primary care services is a serious challenge for local residents who are uninsured and underinsured. Many cannot afford routine doctor visits, long-term disease management or other basic services. Often, we see patients in our emergency rooms with advanced illness because they have no access to a regular doctor. Thankfully, in our community, more people have access to low-cost and no-cost medical care because of community-based organizations that help fill the need.
The Davis Street Family Resource Center’s RotaCare Free Acute
Clinic in San Leandro and Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center in Hayward and Union City have been filling that gap by providing primary care, pediatric and dental services to local residents for many years.
So it was welcome and uplifting news when Sutter Health recently awarded $100,000 grants to each of these organizations. Sutter’s Community Clinic Access to Care Grant program is a commitment by the Sutter Health network to improve access to health care services in the communities that it serves.
When Eden Medical Center learned of the available funds through the Community Clinic Access to Care Grant program, the people of Eden immediately thought of these two clinics. Eden has worked with these two organizations for many years, and both are highly regarded clinics in the community.
The $100,000 grant to the RotaCare Clinic is now being used to upgrade equipment and expand the clinic’s hours of operation. More than 60 doctors and nurses—many of whom work at Eden Medical Center and San Leandro Hospital—volunteer one of the four evenings a week that the clinic is open. San Leandro Hospital also provides basic radiology and laboratory services to clinic patients.
Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center is using their $100,000 grant to expand primary care services to residents of unincorporated areas of Cherryland and Ashland. These areas, adjacent to the cities of Hayward and San Leandro, have virtually no medical resources and very few physician offices. The clinic can now expand to these communities and offer primary, pediatric and maternity care.
The RotaCare Clinic and Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center were among 26 medical and dental centers in Northern California that benefited from the more than $2.5 million that Sutter Health’s Community Clinic Access to Care Grant Program awarded. Often, these good works go unnoticed, and so I thought I would share the good news. As always, your questions and comments are welcome.
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.