Kaiser Permanente’s new 450-bed hospital in Kearny Mesa will feature cutting-edge technology and innovative communication strategies while relieving the growing pressure on its current facilities.
While Scripps Health, Sharp HealthCare and UC San Diego Health System all have multiple hospitals in the county, Kaiser has only one hospital — San Diego Medical Center — on Zion Avenue in San Diego’s Grantville neighborhood. Kaiser’s approach in San Diego has been to stay lean, outsourcing some of its services, like cardiac procedures, to other local operators such as Palomar Health in inland North County.
Kaiser broke ground earlier this year on a $900 million project to construct Central Hospital at 5201 Ruffin Road, hoping to capitalize on the convenience of Kearny Mesa’s central location with quick access to Interstate 15. The new seven-story facility is being built on 19 acres of land and is expected to open in 2017.
Kaiser has seen significant growth in San Diego over the past several years with 538,000 total members, up 50,000 since 2009. Jane Finley, senior vice president and the executive director for the San Diego region, expects growth to continue — particularly in light of health care reform.
“Because of our growth trend, we are investing in new facilities, upgrading existing offices, and hiring physicians and staff to meet the increasing demand in San Diego.” Finley said.
The new hospital will add more than a thousand new and permanent jobs to the San Diego community, including physicians, nurses and other staff. Additionally, the construction of the hospital will bring about 800 temporary construction jobs to San Diego over the next two years.
The medical center will have new technology and high-tech gadgets, making it the newest and most advanced hospital in San Diego, according to Kaiser.
Project Manager Joe Stasney says the patient rooms will be outfitted with a high-tech interactive wall featuring a video-conferencing screen which will allow patients to stay in touch with family, physicians and medical staff.
“We’re working around the concept of helping the patient feel connected,” Stasney said. “We want them to feel that they are in touch while they’re at the hospital.”
The patient rooms will also be fitted with features aiding in patient safety, such as handrails that wrap around the room — starting at the bed and ending in the restroom — so that patients can move about their rooms independently.
Kaiser hired Los Angeles-based Co Architects for the project, requesting it to use environmentally sustainable materials throughout the building. Kaiser’s
new location will be one of the first hospitals worldwide with all low-voltage LED lighting. The facility will use tri-
generation energy efficient cooling and heating systems, and Kaiser plans to power a portion of the hospital with solar panels placed on the parking garage.
The project is on track for earning gold certification under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program operated by the U.S. Green Building Council, which would make it the first hospital in California to earn the certificate.
The hospital will offer medical specialties, surgical specialties, an emergency department, maternal child health services, an intensive care unit, interventional radiology and a neonatal intensive care unit.
Upon opening, the new 565,000 square foot facility will have 321 beds with the ability to add 129 more if needed, complementing the 414-bed hospital on Zion Avenue which will remain open. The Kearny Mesa location will offer
single-patient rooms, allowing more space for family and visitors to see patients. The additional facility relieves pressure on the Zion location, allowing Kaiser to upgrade its older facility to also offer single-patient rooms.
The new facility will feature gardens and a half-mile walking trail for patients, staff and visitors.
Kaiser has recently opened two additional facilities in San Diego County — the Carmel Valley medical office featuring a women’s center and a new Oceanside medical office. It is also in the process of upgrading its facilities in Rancho Bernardo and at the San Diego Medical Center on Zion Avenue.