New hospital ready to open Sunday
Palomar Health’s new 288-bed Palomar Medical Center is scheduled to open for patient care on Sunday, Aug. 19, in Escondido.
The opening of the 11-story “Hospital of the Future” will be a major milestone in the 64-year-old history of Palomar Health, California’s largest public health-care district and one of the largest such districts in the United States, reads a statement from the district. Ramona is among communities in the district.
“Our goal was to create a uniquely flexible, future-oriented facility that would combine all of the principles that have been studied for many years to enhance the care and safety and well-being of patients and their families on one site, something that has not been effectively achieved on this scale anywhere in the country or the world,” says Palomar Health President and CEO Michael H. Covert. “We were looking to create what some call the ‘Fabled Hospital,’ and it is a testament to the work of many people.”
The opening is scheduled to begin early Sunday when about 130 patients will be moved from the existing Palomar Medical Center in downtown Escondido to the new Palomar Medical Center at 2185 Citracado Parkway in western Escondido over a period of several hours.
Eighteen ambulances will be used to travel the 3-plus miles distance, with each patient transfer taking about 45 to 60 minutes from bed to bed. By early afternoon, all transferred patients will be resting in their own private room at the new hospital, states the district.
“Above all else, our guiding principles are that each patient be moved safely and with dignity,” says Maria Sudak, R.N., director of Clinical Operations Improvement for Palomar Health. “We are planning and testing many scenarios to be prepared for every situation, and patients and family members will remain fully informed throughout the process.”
The new Emergency Department and Trauma Center will also be opening at the new hospital on Aug. 19.
In 2004, voters passed Proposition BB, the $496 million bond that helped fund construction of the $956 million hospital.
“Palomar Health had a vision to forever change the way health care is provided, and the people we serve placed their trust in us to make it happen,” says Gerald Bracht, chief administrative officer of the new Palomar Medical Center.
The new hospital will open as a licensed 288-bed acute care hospital, providing inpatient care, rehabilitation services, surgical and interventional services, and emergency and trauma services. It will eventually be built out to a maximum of 650 beds.
The 740,000-square-foot building is the first new hospital in North County in more than 30 years. About 1,700 health-care providers and supporting staff will work at the new hospital, most of them transfers from the downtown hospital. Staffing could eventually grow to more than 2,000.
The original Palomar Medical Center at 555 E. Valley Parkway will remain open under a new name, Palomar Health Downtown Campus, and will specialize in women’s, children’s, rehabilitation, behavioral health and minor injury/illness (urgent care) services. About 750 employees will initially staff the downtown facility.
“The new hospital is the best example of innovative design principles that will stand the test of time,” adds Bracht, who has been chief administrative officer at the original Palomar Medical Center since 2000.
Los Angeles-based CO Architects designed the hospital building with input from physicians, staff and district leaders. The San Diego office of DPR Construction managed construction.
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