Memorial completes Heart & Vascular Institute and an 80-bed wing

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s new $57 million Heart & Vascular Institute officially opened after a final state inspection of this 27,328- square- foot state-of-the-art “hospital within a hospital” dedicated to providing excellence in cardiovascular care and research.

At the same time, an existing two-story Center Wing, with 23,600 square feet of space, has been remodeled at a cost of $33 million.

Former Center Wing interior offices, storage space, an endoscopy suite, EP lab and surgery rooms were demolished and replaced with 80 beds, 40 patient rooms and accompanying nurses’ stations and support space.

“Modifications to the Center Wing were on the drawing board in anticipation of the closure of Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and the resulting need for Memorial to accommodate an increasing patient load,” said Dr. Gary Greensweig, chief medical officer for St. Joseph Health System-Sonoma County.

When Sutter announced it would remain open, “it gave Memorial an opportunity to rethink how we provide services. We elected to repurpose the Center Wing as part of our projected 20-year infra-structure development plan designed to anticipate community growth, and to look at the entire hospital – floor by floor – to assure that each unit was appropriately configured to provide the best use of the space. As part of this reconfiguration, we have been able to bring our most acute patients closer to the ‘center core’ of the hospital, which includes our operating rooms, radiology, laboratory, emergency department and cardiac and vascular institute. This is a win-win situation for everyone and gives patients greater access to services that they require at each stage of their stay with us,” he added.

Together these two projects have not only increased the hospital’s capacity but also its ability to centralize essential services and bring specialists representing a spectrum of cardiac care disciplines to work collaboratively in a single setting.

“By fully integrating all cardiac services under one roof, Memorial Hospital’s clinicians expect to shave up to 10 minutes or more off the time between when a patient arrives at the emergency room with an acute heart attack and the time when a patient’s arteries are dilated through catheterization, balloon angioplasty and vascular stenting to alleviate blockages and restore blood flow,” Dr. Greensweig said. “The benefit for patients is that the new institute is next door to the emergency department on the first floor and next door to the surgery department on the second level. This proximity helps to accelerate diagnosis and treatment when time is of the essence.”

The Heart & Vascular Institute has two new operating rooms along with two new cardiac catheterization suites to complement an existing one, making Memorial the only Santa Rosa hospital with three cath labs. The recently completed facility also has a new electrophysiology lab, a 10-bed observation unit along with nine post-operative recovery beds. There is also a patient lounge and garden plus facilities for the clinical staff.

“We know the population is aging. This demographic change is producing a larger number of retirees in Northern California who may have heart and vascular conditions that would have required inpatient surgical procedures years ago but who may now be treated in a cath lab on an outpatient basis. Our goal is to continue to move forward in establishing advanced medical service delivery systems, procedures and technologies. The Heart & Vascular Institute is a major step in achieving this objective,” said Dr. Greensweig.

“While the Heart & Vascular Institute involved new construction, remodeling the Center Wing required the ability to overcome a series of challenges,” according to Cory McCormick, project manager for Wright Contracting, the firm responsible for refurbishing the Center Wing.

“Walls had to be torn down and replaced, a new emergency power generator was installed along with new plumbing, structural reinforcement and seismic bracing as well as HVAC, mechanical and electrical upgrades required to bring the 1960s-era building up to code.

Unique high-end light fixtures were also installed with dimmers and the ability to create mood-enhancing skylight effects on the ceiling by projecting clouds and tree limbs through a lens. We worked on weekends and during low occupancy periods to complete the work on time with a minimum of disruption to hospital workers and patients.”

Work was conducted in seven phases as building traffic was rerouted through temporary corridors to avoid construction areas and by handling debris and equipment through windows to minimize tracking dust into the facility through the halls.

“Memorial has steadily evolved from a community hospital, when it first opened its doors in 1950, to a full-service regional medical center with exceptional heart, trauma, bone and joint areas of specialization. Changing demographics, patient requirements and technological advances continue to drive infrastructure modifications. Our goal for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is to continue to stay ahead of this curve by implementing service upgrades, a multidisciplinary approach to care and capacity increases required to keep pace with community and patient needs,” Dr. Greensweig said.