Issues with doors, electrical work, waiting room space and flooring still need to be addressed and approved by the state before the new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital can open.
Adventist Health is working in partnership with Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District "to bring closure to door issues, to get staff and stock in order to get public occupancy from the state. Once this is achieved Adventist Health will be completely taking all remaining work," said Warren Tetz, the vice president of construction for Adventist Health.
He provided an update on the hospital at the Dec. 6 Tehachapi Economic Development Council meeting.
In a Dec. 11 interview, AHTV President Jeff Lingerfelt said, "We can see the finish line."
"We are still not in the position to be driving the cart, it's TVHD, until we get staff and stock," Lingerfelt said. "They are trying to work with us to allow us, and obviously we have a lot of resources over here trying to push the project through, but until we get staff and stock, our hands are somewhat tied.”
Tetz said Dec. 6 that once the state actually approves the doors, Adventist Health will be able to allow non-construction employees to occupy the building and get the building ready to open to the public.
“Doors remain the biggest wildcard, and after we have many projects we will have to be starting,” Tetz said. He added these projects include automatic door openers, fixing gaps on patient room doors to be fire and smoke compliant, raising counter tops that are too low and need to be higher; and a small demolition and reconstruction of the waiting room to make it larger and help protect patient’s privacy.
Eugene Suksi, chief executive officer of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, which currently controls and spearheads the improvements at the new hospital, said in a phone interview that 28 or more doors have a greater than one-eighth inch gap, this is unacceptable to state code and standards, and it needs to be fixed first before an inspection.
On Dec. 11, Lingerfelt and Tetz said the doors are wider than they need to be and the rating label is not visible to ensure correct standards. The steal caps on the edge of the doors, to help prevent damage, are also not in compliance with codes.
Tetz said that in a dry storage room, there are electrical breakers directly across from pressurized plumbing. This has to move for safety reasons, since if the pipe broke, it could cause the electrical to short circuit. There is also a drain inside the room; therefore, it can't be used as a dry room.
On the north side of the building, the waiting room and emergency department entrance don't have some automatic openings or a button to push for wheelchair accessibility. These will also have to be fixed.
Tetz said the emergency waiting room is not large enough to accommodate patients when the hospital opens. He added that the current hospital location is seeing on average 40 to 50 patients daily and the area in the new hospital will not support those patients comfortably. The reception desk windows and the design don't protect patients' privacy, due to close proximity, said Tetz.
Also, on some sections of flooring, the material is coming up, said Tetz.
The 25-bed critical access hospital is estimated to cost more than $100 million.
Suksi commented that the reason the cost is so high has to do with design, construction delays and escalating costs.
In the TVHD board of directors' Nov. 21 minutes, Adventist Health was stated to be reaching its estimated budget of $27 million to help fund the project. Any additional costs, Adventist Health would discuss with TVHD.