By JEFF CLEMETSON | La Mesa Courier
A plan over 25 years in the making to expand Alvarado Hospital’s emergency room has finally come to fruition.
On Dec. 5, Alvarado held a pre-grand opening for its $14 million new ER facility that adds 20 new beds — which will relieve some of the pressure on the impacted emergency room that currently sees around 2,000 patients a month with only 12 existing beds.
“It’s huge for the community because we’ve always been here but we’ve been so compact and now we’re not compact anymore — we have more space,” said Alvarado Hospital CEO Robin Gomez.
Alvarado is one of only two ER hospitals in East County and with the new emergency room, it will be the first with a special accreditation for serving seniors. As an accredited Geriatric Emergency Department (GEDA), Alvarado Hospital staff is trained to give a special screening for older patients that covers medications, memory health, diet and living conditions. The hospital also provides special equipment for senior patients such as foam beds and informational cards with larger type for easier reading.
The expanded ER also boasts a new electronic medical records system that Gomez described as “the Rolls Royce of EMRs.”
Some additional staff will be hired for the ER including one extra physician shift, Gomez said.
Jordan Cohen, M.D. head of ER at Alvarado said he and the staff are excited to move into the facility and are eager to be able to move patients through faster and reduce wait times.
“Robin and I have assembled the finest team I have worked with in over 30 years of emergency medicine — physicians, physician assistants, nurses, really down the EMTs and the CNAs. This is the facility that the staff deserves to function well in,” he said. “With this facility, we’re going to become the premier emergency department in the county.”
Although the ER is ready to operate, Alvarado must wait for an inspection by the California Department of Health before it can begin admitting patients. Gomez hopes this will happen before the holidays, and by state law cannot take over 100 days before an inspector comes to do the site visit. Gomez is confident that Alvarado will pass the inspection.
“This isn’t a new service line for us. We know how to do ER,” she said. “We have all the policies; we have everything in place. The staff has been running drills. … So we are literally just waiting on licensing. It’s going to be an easy one-day survey.”
For more information on Alvarado Hospital, visit alvaradohospital.com.
— Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.