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NIH unveiling new facility, upgrades

April 19, 2012

Angie Aukee shows a tour group some of the new technology that doctors will have at their fingertips in the newly constructed surgical theaters at NIH. Photo by Mike Gervais

With the Northern Inyo Hospital construction project nearing its completion, residents were recently offered sneak peeks of the brand-new facility and services to be offered there.
Hospital staffers have been giving tours to residents interested in seeing first-hand the fruits of the multi-year, multi-million dollar project paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Funded through a 2005, voter-approved bond, the project included the construction of up-to-date support, imaging and main hospital buildings at a cost of $62 million.
Despite the addition of three new buildings, the hospital will remain a 25-bed facility, but will now be working with state-of-the-art technology in most departments.
When complete, the hospital will be up to date on state earthquake safety standards, have an expanded range of emergency care services, have upgraded medical technology and facilities and claim improved outpatient services including radiology and surgery.
NIH Director of Community Health and Education Angie Aukee said the new imaging facility at the hospital is one of the most sophisticated in the country.
The support building includes the generators, laundry and other necessary facilities that keep the hospital running.
The main, two-story hospital building will include reception, inpatient services, the emergency department, intensive care unit, patient rooms, surgery, information technology, post anesthesia care unit and labor and delivery.
The 55,000 square-foot building sits atop 216 columns that go into the ground approximately 50 feet – more than the building will stand above the ground.
The new Main Building will include a top story for patient rooms and operational rooms downstairs, including 16 medical/surgical units in all: five labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms; and four intensive care units.
During a tour last week, Aukee said the check-in area in the new building provides for more privacy, allowing patients to discuss their symptoms and cases with hospital staff without having to worry about who else may be listening.
The hospital also has 1,200 new, up-to-date pieces of medical equipment planned to go in to individual rooms. Aukee said that, with the new equipment and up-to-code building, the new hospital can easily adapt to changing technologies and stay on the cutting edge of medicine.
During the tour, she took visitors into one of the new surgical theaters, a room nearly twice the size of what doctors are currently working with, that have observation windows for family members and doctors and state-of-the-art technology to provide care for residents.
In addition to the upgrades, state requirements mandated the construction of facilities the hospital does not plan to use, such as X-ray (an outdated technique compared to the technology available in the Imaging Department) and a standby kitchen. Aukee said that, in case of an emergency, the facilities will be an important addition, but, as far as day-to-day operations are concerned, they are not necessary.
The imaging and support building are currently in use, and Aukee said the main building should be on-line early this summer.
The new facilities also include upgraded security – including 36 security cameras that will be monitored by security guards – and a healing garden funded by the Northern Inyo Hospital Foundation that, Aukee said, will be a place where families can gather in a serene environment to make important decisions.
Aukee said NIH is waiting on the final state licensing before opening the doors to the new main building to the public. She said that will be complete in July or August.
The three buildings aren’t the only additions to Northern Inyo Hospital.
According to Aukee, Dr. Lynn Leventis, a board certified OB/GYN who is currently working in the San Diego area, will be starting work in Bishop April 30.
Dr. Leventis received her Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1991 from the Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H. She has full-scope general OB/GYN skills, including hysterectomy, cystectomy, cancer staging, laproscopic hysterectomy, hysteroscopy and has experience in very complex cases.
“She takes a very holistic, caring approach and focuses on preventive health,” Aukee said.
Anyone who is interested in touring the new facilities at NIH is invited to contact Aukee at (760) 873-5898.

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