Sharp Grossmont Hospital to open new lab and pharmacy

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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.

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 on the first phase of the project consisting of a 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, 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 few years. The hospital opened in 1955.

The H&V Center’s new 6,700-square-foot pharmacy replaces the hospital’s existing 3,100-square-foot pharmacy, said Dr. Kenneth Schell, hospital 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 said. “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 said the new pharmacy also features a retail operation so that all patients upon discharge from the hospital can get prescriptions filled at the hospital instead of an outside retail store. He also said the new pharmacy provides extra space for research studies for patients needing investigational drug therapies.

In addition, the new 13,000-square-foot laboratory replaces the hospital’s existing 10,000-square-foot laboratory, said Chris Crawford, hospital laboratory director. However, blood draws will continue at the existing lab area, she said. 

“The new lab will give us a smoother workflow resulting in greater capacity and a quicker turnaround time for specimen examination and processing,” Crawford said. “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 said the new large refrigerator equipment with a capacity of 26,000 test tubes would 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 said.

When completed, the $60 million H&V Center will expand the hospital’s surgery capabilities with new cardiac catheterization labs and 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 a new loading dock and materials receiving department on the lowest level, called Level “B.”

Completion of the building is scheduled for late-2016, followed by completion of the surgical floor scheduled for late 2018.The hospital is managed and operated by Sharp HealthCare under a lease agreement with GHD, which was extended by voters in 2014 for an additional 30 years.said Chris Crawford, hospital laboratory director. However, blood draws will continue at the existing lab area, she said. 

“The new lab will give us a smoother workflow resulting in greater capacity and a quicker turnaround time for specimen examination and processing,” Crawford said. “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 said the new large refrigerator equipment with a capacity of 26,000 test tubes would 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 said.

When completed, the $60 million H&V Center will expand the hospital’s surgery capabilities with new cardiac catheterization labs and 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 a new loading dock and materials receiving department on the lowest level, called Level “B.”

Completion of the building is scheduled for late-2016, followed by completion of the surgical floor scheduled for late 2018.

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