Sharp Grossmont Hospital to Open New Pharmacy and Lab
An important milestone was recently celebrated in the progress of the taxpayer-funded construction of a new Heart and Vascular (H&V) Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.
While the three-story, 71,000-square-foot H&V building is scheduled for final completion later this year, construction was recently completed of the first phase of the project — completion of new pharmacy and clinical testing laboratory on Level A, which is set to open in March to begin serving patients. A ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony for the pharmacy and lab was held on Feb. 24.
The H&V Center is part of renovation and modernization that's been underway at the publicly owned, 540-bed hospital since June 2006, when voters approved Proposition G, a $247 million bond measure sponsored by the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD). GHD, a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego's East County region, serves as landlord of the hospital's property and buildings on behalf of taxpayers. Prop G passed by more than 77 percent, well above the two-thirds required. The bond-financed construction began in 2007, and is scheduled to continue over the next several years. The hospital opened in 1955.
The H&V Center's new 6,700-square-foot pharmacy will replace the hospital's existing 3,100-square-foot pharmacy, says Dr. Kenneth Schell, the hospital's pharmacy director. The previous pharmacy space will be used for other hospital purposes, including pathology work consisting of laboratory examination of body tissue samples for diagnostic or forensic purposes.
"The last upgrade to the existing pharmacy was in 1997, so we're overdue and looking forward to serving patients with the most modern equipment and technology and the latest design that will improve efficiency and production," Schell says. "Our new pharmacy will help us increase our current capacity of 90,000 medication orders a month. Our workload has been increasing by several hundred orders every month for the past several years."
Schell says the new pharmacy also will feature a retail operation so that all patients at their discharge from the hospital can get prescriptions filled at the hospital instead of an outside retail store. He also says the new pharmacy will provide extra space for research studies for patients needing investigational drug therapies.
In addition, the new 13,000-square-foot laboratory will replace the hospital's existing 10,000-square-foot laboratory, says Chris Crawford, the hospital's laboratory director. However, blood draws will continue at the existing lab area, she says.
"The new lab will give us a smoother workflow resulting in greater capacity and a quicker turnaround time for specimen examination and processing," Crawford says. "We also will have a clinical resource room available for ongoing training sessions, validation of new instrument technology and provide a place for student reference information."
Crawford says new large refrigerator equipment will have a capacity of 26,000 test tubes, which will permit the hospital to double the storage time of most specimens. "We are also excited about the new automation, robotics and auto-verification technology that will help our efficiency at inventory management," she says.
When completed, the $60 million H&V Center will eventually expand the hospital's surgery capabilities with four new cardiac catheterization labs and four multipurpose procedural rooms that can support a wide range of specialties, including general surgery, minimally invasive surgery and image-guided surgery, as well as endovascular interventional procedures. The building also will feature three new elevators, a new loading dock and a materials receiving department on the lowest level.
Completion of the building is scheduled for late 2016 with completion of the surgical floor scheduled for late 2018.
The hospital is managed and operated by Sharp HealthCare under a lease agreement between GHD and Sharp HealthCare, which was extended by voters in 2014 for an additional 30 years.
The Grossmont Healthcare District is an East County regional public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in San Diego's East County. Formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, the District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District's 750 square miles. For more information about GHD, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org.