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New NIH opening Monday

October 15, 2012

Northern Inyo Hospital will begin accepting patients at its new, state-of-the-art facility (above) Monday after completing its final state inspection earlier this week. The last licensing inspection tested hospital staff on the use of new equipment and operations at the new building. Top photo by Marilyn Blake Philip

More than seven years of planning and construction culminates next week with Northern Inyo Hospital opening its new facility to the public.
The hospital passed a rigorous licensing inspection earlier this week (the last in a series of state and federal inspections) and was approved for licensing Thursday morning, allowing it to open its doors to patients Monday morning.
The opening of the new hospital marks the end of phases one and two of the three-phase hospital construction project. The final phase will be transforming the old hospital into administrative offices and removing modular buildings on the campus. The old hospital will continue to serve some outpatient functions and as the hospital pharmacy as well, Hospital Administrator John Halfen said. Phase three will begin next year.
On Monday, the front doors of the new facility will open at 6 a.m. for surgery check-in. At 7 a.m. the Blood Draw Lab will be open. In-patients and their belongings will be moved over to the new facility starting at 8 a.m. The Emergency Department will move over at 9 a.m., and patient visiting hours will commence at 10 a.m. (For details on where to check into the new hospital, see NIH ad on A-10 for English or A-11 for Spanish in today’s paper).
“I’m pretty sure the move will all be done by noon on Monday,” Halfen said.
All patients will be asked to check-in with Central Registration in the front lobby of the new building.
Last week’s inspection tested hospital staff on the use of new equipment and their ability to man the new facility. Halfen said the final inspection covered “everything” that doctors, nurses and support staff need to know to keep the new hospital operating. “They wanted to make sure we know how to run this specific hospital,” Halfen said.
“The staff at Northern Inyo Hospital have been diligently practicing in the new hospital to ensure the highest quality of healthcare to patients from the moment the doors open,” said NIH Director of Community Development Angie Auckee said in a press release. “The staff is trained and proficient with the new cutting-edge equipment, and have been licensed by the state to deliver healthcare to our residents. The Bishop Fire Department and other local agencies have also been training and familiarizing themselves with the new facility in case of an emergency.”
According to Halfen, the most notable change residents being treated or visiting patients at the new facility will notice (other than improved parking and the brand new building) will be the larger, private rooms for patients. Rather than the semi-private rooms at the old building, the new hospital features individual rooms, each with their own bathroom, “and many more conveniences.”
“The new family-centered facility at Northern Inyo Hospital proudly features beautiful and spacious rooms, designed to accommodate family members wanting to stay close to loved ones being cared for at the hospital,” Aukee said. “The 25 inpatient rooms have beautiful furnishings, feature private restrooms and have views of the surrounding area.”
She added that centralized nursing stations allow staff to closely monitor patients at all times.
There are three Surgical Theaters and a contemporary Emergency Department that has six treatment rooms and one Emergency Trauma Room.
Construction of the new hospital building began in August of 2008, three years after Inyo County voters approved a $29.5 million bond. The end of construction was officially announced in July of this year, but staff training and the rigorous licensing and inspection process prevented officials from opening the building until this week.
“I haven’t got the final bills yet, but the entire project is up there, around $65 million-plus,” Halfen said.
That price estimate includes the 2007-08 construction of phase one of the hospital construction project, which included the construction of the support and radiology buildings.

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