New building increases number of beds as more patients are expected

[caption id="attachment_25250" align="alignright" width="270" caption="New Kaiser Permanente five-story hospital wing"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA – Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Santa Rosa's new five-story expansion officially opened last Friday and will begin serving patients in nine days – on 10-10-10 – marking the completion of the seven-year, $233 million expansion that will accommodate an expected influx in patients.

While some health facilities are looking to decrease the number of beds and expand outpatient services, the new Kaiser wing does the opposite – the expansion will increase the number of beds to 173 from 117, double the number of beds in the emergency department from 17 to 34, while doubling intensive care unit beds from 10 to 20.

The approximately 146,000-square-foot expansion will also include a separate, dedicated entrance for ambulances arriving at the emergency department, which will be vastly more efficient than before, hospital officials have said.

Constructed by Sacramento-based Harbison-Mahony-Higgins Builders Inc. and designed by Santa Rosa’s TLCD Architecture, the wing just about doubles the size of the current hospital and will house the hospital’s first interventional radiology department.

The opening of the tower comes amid Kaiser’s 30-year anniversary in Santa Rosa, officials noted, starting from a clinic that served 25,000 patients in Sonoma County in 1980. Its membership now is more than 137,000 in the county and will likely expand in patients – as will most health providers –as health care reform takes shape in the coming years.

The hospital was granted a certificate of occupancy in June by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Extensive efforts were taken to make the new wing of the hospital as environmentally conscious as possible, Kaiser officials said, including recycling 775 tons out of 846 total tons of construction waste, using cotton insulation instead of fiberglass where feasible and the use of recycled ceramic floor tiles.

The fifth floor of the new wing will be left vacant for the time being but can accommodate an expansion of 24 beds, if needed.