Monday, June 9, 2008

Kaiser begins countdown for new facility

Kaiser begins countdown for new facility
State-of-the-art care awaits patients
By Melissa Murphy
Article Launched: 06/01/2008

The entrance rotunda of Kaiser Permanente's new Vacaville Medical Center set to open in April 2009. (Joel Rosenbaum/

In less than a year, the highly anticipated 340,000-square-foot Kaiser Permanente Hospital will open its doors to its first patient in April 2009.

City officials expressed their satisfaction with the new, state-of-the-art facility after a tour a couple of weeks ago.

"It's great," said Mayor Len Augustine. "It's exciting to see it evolve. I can't believe it's so big and yet so organized. It adds a whole new dimension to services for the community. It definitely complements the other medical facilities in Vacaville."

The Kaiser facility, which broke ground in May 2005, is waiting for equipment to be installed. About 120 truck deliveries are expected to unload that equipment for the next few months, according to Andrew Fellows, Senior Project Manager for the Vacaville site.

More than 600 trades people worked together to create the new Medical Office Building opening later this year and the new hospital, which will have 120 single patient rooms, complete with private bathroom and shower facilities.

The new hospital will support labor and delivery, including a Newborn Intensive Care Unit, a 24-hour Emergency Department and pharmacy, out-patient surgery and specialty services including cardiology, oncology and orthopedics.

Councilwoman Pauline Clancy is excited to see that the new hospital will provide labor and delivery.

"There is just nothing like it in our area," she said. "I've been on the council for 18 years so it's satisfying and exciting to see the hard
work come to fruition."

The labor and delivery rooms are designed so that mothers can deliver their baby and recover in the same room. The child also would remain with the mother in the same room.

Another unique feature at the hospital will be a "distributed nursing" process, where each nurse has a specific counter section, each with a computer, instead of sharing one common area as seen in other facilities.

"That way each nurse at each of the stations can watch the specific patients they've been assigned to," explained Jim Caroompas, spokesman for Kaiser. "That way they can focus on the patient and never have to wander very far away from the patients."

The patient tracking and communication system will all be electronic, cutting out the need for a file room. Each patient will be given a wrist band with a bar code on it. The nurse or doctor would then scan the code into the wireless and transportable computer system. The information about that patient, for instance, what kind of medications and the dosage, will be stored and easily accessible.

"The file room was cumbersome even in the best of times," said Caroompas, adding that information will still be printed out, but not as much as the old filing system. The information, instead, will be stored on servers and backup servers.

"Even if a computer crashes we do have a backup to make sure every patient is taken care of," he said.

A project running on time and under budget is good news to Fellows.

"We've had a great team," he said. "It's a very complex project. We've made a building that will be enjoyable to work in."

Caroompas agreed.

"A state-of-the-art facility doesn't mean anything without exceptional people in them," he said. "The staff will be trained and well taken care of so that they can meet the patients' needs. Otherwise, it would just be a pretty building."