Though the opening date for the new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital has been postponed again, there are positive developments to report.
What is the projected date the new hospital will open? Why is the opening postponed? What changes to the new building still need to happen?
Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley’s President Jeff Lingerfelt had some answers during an interview on Nov. 2.
“I think we can see the finish line, and it will be a great day when we get there, but we want to make certain that we finish strong,” Lingerfelt said.
He added, “Today, I feel it’s realistic to say the hospital will open in the second quarter of 2018. From April to June, sometime in that window.”
There is a team solely dedicated to ensuring new codes are met, which includes addressing pharmacy, staff and stock and correcting any non-compliance issues with certain building items, such as doors.
“The pharmacy and the lab were built under an old life safety code. So there are modifications to those two departments that need to take place to meet appropriate code,” Lingerfelt said.
Residents of Greater Tehachapi have been waiting for a hospital with expanded services for years.
Some of these code changes happened in 2017 and are from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development in California. Modifications need to be made to open the hospital.
Warren Tetz, who has been brought in as vice president of construction for Adventist Health, said they are focusing on making sure the new OSHPD regulations are met for the more than 70,000-square-foot hospital.
Tetz said that regulation SB 797 states that rooms in the hospitals in which dangerous drugs are prepared need to have a specific airflow, be ventilated differently and be separated from other room areas. That's a focus at the moment to ensure everything is correct.
The staff and stock includes making sure all materials and supplies in each section are correctly in their place, down to the furniture inside the hospital.
Eugene Suksi, chief executive officer of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, said on Nov. 3 that every week they coordinate with Adventist Health to focus on improvements.
He added that the district's job is to provide construction of the building, and Adventist Health's job is to take care of licensing.
What can the public look forward to when the hospital does open?
The modern and state-of-the-art building will offer services that residents now have to travel to other cities to receive. Services will include an OB-GYN center, ICU, acute care patient rooms, X-ray, surgery and other patient areas.
The hospital will also be equipped with a Cerner Information System, which is slated to be installed in March. This computer system will allow patient information to be shared between hospitals, making it more accessible for doctors, said Lingerfelt.
The design of the hospital, including big windows, is also an added feature.
“You have a very serene setting. It’s almost healing. I can see how you can almost look out and see the mountains, and there’s no chaos, there’s no confusion. It’s an environment where I think healing can thrive," Lingerfelt said.
Teresa Adamo, AHTV marketing manager, said on Nov. 3 that the team is looking forward to opening day and also planning for special interactive activities.
“We are thinking of terms when the grand opening comes, how big can we make that for the community because it’s going to be a celebration,” Adamo said.
The total construction cost for Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley will be more than $100 million.