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Physicians Update


Physicians Update

Summer 2009

Hospital Renovation Bolsters Its Role in UCLA Health System


Santa Monica UCLA Med Ctr and Orthopaedic HospitalUCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica is an essential component of UCLA Health. It currently is undergoing major renovation, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010. The new central, north and orthopaedic towers are expected to open within a few months of the completion date. When renovation is completed, the enlarged Santa Monica campus will boast more than 500,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities, including a 22-bed Critical Care Unit, six new operating rooms, expanded pediatric units and upgraded laboratories. Already, the hospital has opened several new areas, including the Nethercutt Emergency Center and The BirthPlace birthing center.

Physicians Update talked with Posie Carpenter, CAO of UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, about the expansion.

What are the goals of the expansion of UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica?

Posie Carpenter CAOPosie Carpenter: This hospital is no longer just a “feeder” facility for Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood; it is an integral part of UCLA Health. As such, we have had to evolve from what began as a community-based hospital to one that, while still very much a part of our community here in Santa Monica, is an essential component of an academic medical system. In addition to providing excellent primary and secondary care, our hospital now provides the highest level of tertiary care. We have done a 180-degree transformation in the past five years.

While the building of our new facilities moves toward completion next year, we are concurrently developing a master plan for the next five-to-10 years to ensure that we fully outfit this campus to meet the mission of UCLA Health. We will need to design more teaching space, physician-support space and office space to support outstanding patient care.

Some services have moved from the medical campus in Westwood to Santa Monica. What are those?

Posie Carpenter: There’s been a migration of services over the past six years. Some services, including geriatrics, general surgery, sleep evaluation, adult orthopaedic/spine surgery, cardiology, neurology, radiology and pain management, have been available in Santa Monica for several years. New UCLA services that have moved recently include general medicine, general pediatrics, advanced gastroenterology endoscopy (including ERCP and endoscopic ultrasound), solid-tumor oncology, and specialty surgical services such as breast, colorectal, and head and neck.

There has been a lot of planning for inpatient facilities, but what about outpatient?

Posie Carpenter Posie Carpenter: We are working with a developer to build a 50,000-square-foot medical office building that will fill out the ambulatory portion of our campus. Currently, 50 to 60 percent of our surgeries are performed on ambulatory patients but are being done in our inpatient setting. Consequently, our plans for this new building include eight operating/procedure rooms so that we can perform outpatient procedures in a more patient-friendly, patient-centered way. In addition, that new facility will have a floor for ambulatory clinics and support space, a phlebotomy draw station and stat lab, and we hope to have some infusion space. It also will have a linear accelerator and shell space for a second unit.

What about some of the already existing services that have space in some of the surrounding medical office buildings?

Posie Carpenter: Some of the other outpatient services provided include radiology, orthopaedics and pain management. We are looking to expand ambulatory services such as general surgery, plastic surgery, and head and neck surgery on this campus. Because planning of the new facilities did not address our Merle Norman Pavilion, now 22 years old, we are planning to invest $30-40 million to upgrade it to the state-of-the-art level of the rest of our Santa Monica campus.

fastER There is all this construction and improvement of facilities going on, and plans for more in the future, but what is being done in the here and now to boost patient satisfaction?

Posie Carpenter: Our new fastER has achieved a patient-satisfaction rating of 99 percent, and our BirthPlace is in the 95th percentile. It is our goal to bring every department up to those levels. To that end, we have implemented a new program called Patient Experience Fridays. Every Friday, members of our management team spend three hours learning about a particular issue in patient care and making rounds throughout our hospital to interview patients, their relatives and our staff members. Following the rounds, managers gather to offer feedback on what they observed and share ideas for further improvement. We see Patient Experience Fridays as an extremely valuable tool for education, mentorship and, most important, making sure everybody’s focused on taking great care of the next patient.

For a virtual tour of UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, click on “Virtual Tour” at: www.uclahealth.org/santamonica

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