Celebrating the Past, Building for the Future

Over the last year, Adventist Health marked major milestones—inspired by its past as well as its future. While some facilities celebrated significant anniversaries, others built new hospital wings and installed breakthrough technology. In every instance, quality patient care and a Christ-centered mission guided the way.

As the oldest continuously operating Adventist hospital, St. Helena (California) Hospital celebrated 125 years of service in good old-fashioned 1880s style. During the course of several days, Napa Valley residents were treated to horse and buggy rides, a historic parade entry and a special service at Elmshaven Church.

Meanwhile, Paradise Valley Hospital turned 100 with much fanfare including a “Babes of Paradise” party that drew more than 400 of the 80,000 babies that have been born at the South San Diego facility since it opened in 1904. Rural Howard Memorial Hospital, of Seabiscuit fame, celebrated 75 years of excellence in Willits, California.

Just over a year ago, Adventist Medical Center (AMC) piloted a state-of-the-art clinical information system in Portland. Four more hospitals have since followed suit, and today clinicians across the health system can instantly access lab results, patient vitals and pharmacy support—all online.

“While it’s still a work in progress, Project IntelliCare already offers a lot of added convenience,” explained Adventist Health board member Wes Rippey, a surgeon at AMC. “I’ve shaved 24 hours off a vascular report I used to dictate, and now I can review patient data online from my home, office or even while traveling—without ever making a phone call.”

Very popular with young recruits who have come to expect computerization at every turn, the new system is as much about safety as convenience. With a variety of built-in checks and warnings about medications and treatment protocols, caregivers are now armed with more information so they can, in turn, make better decisions.

Just up the highway, Tillamook County General Hospital recently brought big-city technology to Oregon’s rocky north coast. A new six-chair dialysis center offers area residents convenient service close to home, and a mobile MRI has been replaced by permanent imaging equipment that provides magnetic resonance angiography. The latter takes highly detailed pictures of blood vessels inside the body, which are used to detect blood clots and heart disease. The hospital also has introduced a vestibular rehabilitation program to assist patients with vertigo and other balance issues.

It has been an especially busy year on the construction front, as Adventist Health works to meet new earthquake safety requirements as well as increasing consumer demand.

A crowd of 3,000 witnessed the grand opening of Sonora Regional Medical Center (SRMC) in January. The all-new, state-of-the art facility replaced Sonora Community Hospital, which served Tuolumne County, California, for nearly 50 years. Already expanding to meet the growing needs of its neighbors, SRMC boasts the region’s largest and most modern emergency department. Adjoining the hospital is a contemporary medical building that houses 15 physician offices, a cancer center, an infusion center and laboratory, a health resource center and library, and a women’s breast health center.

Head south and you’ll likely stumble upon the “new” White Memorial Medical Center, which represents one of the most significant investments in the history of Adventist Health. Necessitated by California’s new earthquake safety standards, the rebuilding project provides an unprecedented opportunity to further enhance quality and meet the changing needs of the community.

Slated for completion in 2007, the renovation includes the replacement of the main hospital with a six-story tower that will house key services. Three existing hospital buildings will undergo retrofitting and remodeling as well as major equipment upgrades. And a new medical office building will be constructed to encourage physicians to remain in this highly vulnerable and under-served area.

“While the White Memorial continues to train physicians, it has also become a hospital that East Los Angeles depends on,” says Beth Zachary, hospital president and CEO. “As we approach our 100th anniversary, it seems appropriate to build a new facility that will allow us to continue to carry out the mission that Ellen White began here in the early 1900s.”

With more and more health care being delivered outside the hospital, Adventist Medical Center is busily putting the finishing touches on a 16,000-square-foot outpatient imaging center. Located in a thriving retail district just five miles east of the hospital, the Gresham, Oregon, center will offer a filmless digital imaging environment and a full range of imaging technology including diagnostic X-ray, bone densitometry, CT, MRI and ultrasound. In addition, mammography services will feature computer-aided detection (CAD), which helps radiologists more accurately detect cancer.

While most services are scheduled to open in December 2004, an affiliated physical therapy clinic will be operational in October. Therapists will be available to treat sports and work-related injuries and to provide post-mastectomy and lymphedema rehabilitation, as well as massage therapy. The center also provides office space for up to five primary care physicians as well as rotating specialists.

In a nod to the nation’s growing roster of retirees, Walla Walla General Hospital (WWGH) is on the verge of completing WheatLand Village, a joint-venture retirement center located adjacent to the hospital. Landscaping is currently underway, three of the four residential wings are open for business, and units are renting quickly.

“Residents just love it, and we don’t even have the putting green in yet,” reports Morre Dean, WWGH president and CEO. “We expect to finish up construction on Oct. 15, so it’s an exciting time.”

When completed, the center will offer a variety of living options ranging from fully independent units to assisted living, making it easy to transition to higher levels of care as needed. Residents also will enjoy a host of high-end amenities including a restaurant, chapel, health club and spa, library, and computer room. For more information, please call (509) 527-9600 or visit www.wheatlandvillage.com.

October 01, 2004 / Feature