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New Hospital FAQ

I have been asked a number of very good questions regarding the new hospital over the past few months and in today’s article I thought I’d share those with you.

Q: Why are you building a hospital with the same number of beds, 60, which we currently have at the current hospital?

A: Before performing any design and development of the new hospital, we asked the architects, NTD Stickler, how big the new facility should be in our community. They informed us the current standard is to build one bed for every 1,000 people living in the area. The population service area (Lompoc, Vandenberg Village, Mission Hills, Mesa Oaks, Vandenberg Air Force Base and surrounding areas) is approximately 60,000 people. Using the current construction standards, we are building a large enough hospital to accommodate current and future growth.

The number of hospital beds required for a community has changed dramatically over the years. I had my appendix taken out in 1958 and stayed in the hospital for seven days. These days, a noncomplicated appendix removal performed laproscopically allows the patient to go home the same day. In the past 20 years, technological advances — coupled with changing philosophies regarding how long a patient needs to stay in the hospital — have significantly reduced the number of days in bed for patients.

Q: What added services will be in the new hospital?

A: Everything that has been designed and purchased is state-of-the-art. Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s operating rooms will have the most modern anesthesia, patient-monitoring equipment and lighting available. Our obstetrics department will have six state-of-the-art labor/delivery/postpartum rooms. Women delivering babies at LVMC will be admitted to one room and stay there the entire time.

The new radiology equipment recently purchased will be the most modern in Santa Barbara County. We have added PET scanning capability along with new nuclear medicine equipment, enabling our department to perform thallium scans to evaluate heart function.

Everything will be digital, including mammography equipment, and accessible via our secure network. Members of our medical staff and consulting physicians will be able to see patient studies from anywhere in the world. Truly amazing!

Q: What will happen to the old hospital?

A: As of now, there are no plans for the old hospital other than to possibly sell the land and building. In 1995, LVMC reached an agreement with the city of Lompoc to move the Community Center into 15,000 square feet currently occupied by the cafeteria, emergency department, and laboratory. The city staff and Park and Recreation Commission toured the property and requested that the city also explore additional sites to relocate the community center functions. The decision by the city to use the 15,000 square feet at the hospital, or move to another site, will obviously affect the use of the current hospital. We have been working closely with our colleagues at the city to reach a win-win situation for both organizations.

Q: When will the hospital open?

A: I am very proud to say we currently are on budget and time for the completion of the building, which is near the end of 2009. Our current timetable has substantial completion of the “I” building, which you see under construction now, to be December 2009. We have given ourselves three months to complete testing of all systems and moving of equipment into the building in preparation of the first patient. Once all systems are go, the state licensing will survey the building and approve it as an acute care hospital. Shortly after receiving approval from the state, we will coordinate shutting down the current hospital while ramping up the new facility.

We look forward to having you celebrate that day with us.

Jim Raggio is the CEO of the Lompoc Valley Medical Center. He has been in the health-care industry for 27 years and has resided in Lompoc since 1980. 

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