Escondido, Calif. (PRWEB) August 22, 2012
Palomar Health, California’s largest public health district, made history on Sunday, August 19, when it opened the new 288-bed Palomar Medical Center in northern San Diego County. It is the health system’s third hospital and one of the most technologically-advanced health care facilities in the nation. For years, the $956-million facility was the largest hospital construction project in the United States.
At 7 a.m., Palomar Health staff began moving the first of 84 patients from the original Palomar Medical Center in downtown Escondido to the new Palomar Medical Center at 2185 Citracado Parkway in western Escondido. All patients were carefully monitored during their 3-miles-plus trip and arrived safely at the new hospital.
“It took an army of people, staff from throughout the district, our physicians, volunteers, Pacific Ambulance Services and San Diego County Emergency Medical Services to make this possible,” said Palomar Health President & CEO Michael H. Covert. “As I visited throughout the areas I was in awe of the effort and compassion displayed and the sensitivity to those in need. Everyone rose to the occasion.”
Eighteen ambulances were used in the historic relocation, which was completed according to plan and without incident. Each patient transfer took about 35 minutes from bed to bed. By 2:30 p.m., all transferred patients were resting in their own spacious, private room under the care of medical professionals at the new hospital.
The new Emergency Department and Trauma Center also began receiving patients, which helped raise the number of patients at the new hospital. At least 50 people had visited the Emergency Department by 5:30 p.m., including the first patient who arrived under her own power at 7 a.m.
Palomar Health had been prepared to transfer as many as 130 patients but was able to reduce the count by curtailing elective surgeries in the days leading to the move. On Sunday, patients who were ready to be discharged at the downtown hospital were not moved to the new hospital.
The California Department of Public Health approved final licensing for the hospital on Wednesday after two rigorous days of review. The license became effective Sunday.
The new Palomar Medical Center opened as a licensed 288-bed acute care hospital, providing inpatient care, surgical and interventional services, and emergency and trauma services. It will eventually be built out to a maximum of 650 beds.
The opening of the new Palomar Medical Center marks a new era in health care in the region and the successful delivery of a promise to the communities that the district serves in northern San Diego County. In 2004, voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition BB, the $496-million bond that helped fund construction of the $956-million hospital.
About 1,700 health-care providers and supporting staff will work at the new 740,000-square-foot hospital, most of them transfers from the original Palomar Medical Center at 555 East Valley Parkway, which opened in 1950. That hospital will remain open under the new name Palomar Health Downtown Campus, specializing in women’s, children’s, behavioral health, rehabilitation and urgent care services. About 750 employees will initially staff the Palomar Health Downtown Campus.
The new Palomar Medical Center was designed to meet the current and future needs of the Inland North County District’s growing population. Early on, Palomar Health adopted the concept of sustainable and flexible health-care design, an innovative approach that led to the creation of a hospital with a world-class healing environment.
Los Angeles-based CO Architects, a nationally-recognized architecture firm, designed the hospital building with significant input from physicians, staff and district leaders. The San Diego office of DPR Construction, a top general contractor in the country, managed construction.
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Palomar Health is the largest public health-care district by area in California and one of the largest in the United States. It is the most comprehensive health care delivery system in northern San Diego County. It is governed by a publicly-elected board of directors and its primary service area in Inland North San Diego County has more than 500,000 residents.
A Magnet® recognized health system, Palomar Health has several facilities, including hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in Escondido and Poway as well as Palomar Health expresscare health centers in Escondido, Rancho Penasquitos, San Elijo Hills in San Marcos and Temecula in Riverside County.
Palomar Health provides medical services in virtually all fields of medicine, including primary care, heart care, emergency services, trauma, cancer, orthopedics, women’s health, rehabilitation, robotic surgery and bariatric surgery.
For more information about Palomar Health, please visit http://www.PalomarHealth.org