GREENBRAE -- The Marin Healthcare District is preparing to present a report to residents of Marin County as it embarks on the early stages of a massive $500 million rebuild of the 235-bed  Marin General Hospital that will bring the aging structure up to state-mandated seismic codes.

The district is currently working on an environmental impact report for the hospital project, the cost of which is expected to be covered through a mix of general obligation bonds and capital campaigning. The bond measure will likely be about $300 million to $350 million that voters would need to approve, according to Jon Friedenberg, chief fund and business development officer.The district has said it will likely put the bond measure forward by November 2013.

The district will discuss plans for the environmental report at a community meeting scheduled for Oct. 6, at Bacich Elementary School from 6 to 8 p.m.

Construction upgrades must be completed by 2020, after the initial deadline of December 2015 was extended. So far, construction plans call for a campus totaling over 660,000 square feet, including a new, 300,000-square-foot hospital that will replace the existing structure. It would also includes a 100,000-square-foot ambulatory services building and two parking structures with 902 spaces.

The comment period on the environmental impact report ends Oct. 20.

While the health care district focuses on financing the construction,  the hospital announced that it installed new "Clinical Care Stations" electronic health records.

The new stations enable electronic charting, electronic clinical records and medication bar coding, which reduce the likelihood of mistakes and eliminate time-consuming paper charting, the hospital said.

"This latest application allows physicians to see the patient data from their offices without having to travel to the hospital to pick up a chart," said Somayaji Bulusu, chief information officer and vice president of IT at the hospital. "It also permits multiple, simultaneous access by different caregivers, making it easier for everyone to see the same documentation without having to chase down a single chart used by many."

The new system allows instant verification prior to medications being administered to patients, which reduces the likelihood of mistakes, according to Lynelle Takigawa, director of clinical informatics and project leader for implementing the new system.

Mr. Bulusu siad the new technology will permit Marin General to potentially share information with other health care institutions, which could translate to more coordinated care between physicians and nurses at multiple institutions.

According to the hospital, the implementation of the new stations is the first step toward demonstration of "meaningful use" of certified electronic health records under federal regulations, which require all hospitals to electronically document and chart patients to avoid future Medicare penalties.

The next phase will involve implementing a computerized physician order system sometime next year, Ms. Takigawa said.