KR Wolfe is here to help implement emergency COVID-19 containment and infection control services
July 08 2011 0 Comment

KR Wolfe Integrating Systems for Kaiser Permanente Garfield Speciality Care Center

KR Wolfe worked alongside Steris Corp at the Kaiser Garfield Specialty Care Center installing and integrating operating room capitol equipment, including but not limited to; surgical lights, medical equipment booms, monitors, and cabinet warmers. KR Wolfe is expected to play an integral role in future facilities mentioned within the below article…

By Kelly Quigley

Kaiser Permanente plans to officially open its newest San Diego medical center June 8 when patients are able to receive care at the just-completed surgical suites of the $111 million Garfield Specialty Care Center.

The Garfield center, which has been partially operational since September when some physicians moved into the space, is already a common sight for many San Diego drivers, whether they know it or not. The 100,000-square-foot building is located on a hill just south of State Route 52 and east of Interstate 805, and has been branded prominently with the Kaiser Permanente marquee.

But the new center in the Clairemont area is significant not just because of its physical presence or the fact that it’s the first new San Diego medical facility that Kaiser has opened in nearly a decade, but also because it’s the start of a growth trend for Kaiser that will span the next 10 years and include a brand-new hospital, among many other facilities.
“We haven’t opened a building here in San Diego for quite some time,” said Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice president and executive director of Kaiser Permanente San Diego.
That’s largely because local health care demand remained constant for Kaiser in the past 10 to 12 years, with membership fluctuating only slightly in San Diego from around 480,000 to 490,000. Until now, existing buildings were sufficient.

But starting about a year ago, the Oakland-based managed care system began to see “consistent, sustainable” membership growth in San Diego, Kaiser spokesman Rodger Dougherty said. At the end of April, the total was at 505,640. And it’s expected to grow leading up to 2014.

Preparing for Health Care Reform“We’re looking at significant expansion in San Diego to be ready for health care reforms to take effect,” Barnes said.

That’s not a bad idea, said Steven Escoboza, president and chief executive officer of the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, a nonprofit trade group. “Before health care reform was signed into law in March of last year, I’d say that here in San Diego we had a sufficient number of beds to handle the number of people who were insured,” he said.

Escoboza said it’s hard to predict the exact effect that health care reform will have on demand for medical procedures in San Diego, but he said that analysis of the population shows that about 500,000 more people will somehow become insured as a result of the reforms, boosting the number of insured local patients to about 3 million from the current 2.5 million. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that many people will seek care, but demand will change radically,” he said.

Babying Their Patients
The Garfield Specialty Care Center, named after Kaiser co-founder Sidney Garfield, will help meet demand for outpatient surgeries, urology, pain management, and other care. A total of 58 physicians will practice there, along with 200 support staff. Many of these doctors and workers are relocating from Kaiser’s San Diego Medical Center at 4647 Zion Ave.

“The Garfield center is central to the county, and we’re real pleased with that,” Barnes said. “We also like that it’s giving us the opportunity to move doctors off of our only doctors office campus so we can refurbish rooms for mom and baby.”
Indeed, as surgical specialists and other physicians move to the Garfield center, Kaiser is using the space at the Zion Avenue medical center to expand and improve its facilities, notably for maternity and child care. Among the major improvements will be private rooms for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, Barnes said. The total project cost for the medical center renovation is $150 million, Dougherty said, and construction will be ongoing for at least the next 18 months.

More Projects in the Works
In addition to the new Garfield Specialty Care Center and upgrades to the San Diego Medical Center, Kaiser has a few other big plans brewing — two of which are still pending approval from the board of directors.

One of the three projects is the fourth phase of its San Marcos Medical Office Campus. In July, Kaiser is breaking ground on a 71,200-square-foot building at 400 Craven Road. It is expected to be finished in the fall of 2012, housing 37 physicians and 125 staff members, with an ambulatory surgery center along with four new operating rooms. The project is budgeted at $64 million.

Next on the lineup is a new Carmel Valley medical office near the interchange of Interstate 5 and the 56 freeway in North County. If approved, the primary care center will encompass about 36,000 square feet, with 20 physicians and about 100 staff based there. A budget hasn’t been determined yet, Dougherty said.

“This is an area where we have a good number of members living in the general vicinity,” he said. “It would be wonderful to provide easier access to health care for members in the North County.”

And finally, Kaiser is in the formative stages of finding land to build at least one new acute care, inpatient hospital in San Diego by 2020. Location is currently the biggest question. “We’re looking in all different areas of the county — north, south, east and central,” Dougherty said. “We still have a lot of decisions to make.”

He couldn’t say whether the new hospital would eventually replace the San Diego Medical Center on Zion, or if the plan would be to run both. “That is still a matter of discussion,” he said. However, he noted that the Zion hospital meets all of the state’s earthquake safety requirements until 2030.

“The bottom line is that we see growth in our future,” he said. “Health care reform has given Kaiser a better stage to tell our story. Consumers haven’t paid much attention to prevention and wellness in the past, but now they are. Once people see what we have to offer, it’s compelling.”

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