New emergency rooms, outpatient and primary care clinics, expanded surgery departments and new state-of-the-art technology — major medical centers serving the Riverside area are in a growth mode.
Hospital officials say their facilities need more space, renovations and high-tech equipment to accommodate the region’s increasing population and changing healthcare needs. Here’s an overview of the major projects happening at hospitals and health-related organizations in the city and nearby.
Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center
With the July 1 purchase of Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center by AHMC Healthcare Inc., there was the promise of a large financial investment in the Riverside hospital for improvements and to breathe new life into the older facility. Previously an independent nonprofit for 60 years with 193 beds, Parkview is making good on that promise with the opening of a newly built and larger emergency department.
The ED nearly triples in size to 18,650 square feet and the number of beds goes from 13 to 41. Twenty-five beds are in private rooms. Three other beds are set aside to fast-track patients with less serious illnesses or injuries, for quicker treatment and turnaround. There are three critical care rooms, one room for women’s care and one for kids.
The launch is expected to result in shorter wait times for patients, along with quicker care and more efficiency. The older emergency room was built to handle 40-50 patients per day but Parkview had been serving more than 150, said Robert Brown, the chief operating officer.
Marlene Burnett, vice president of business development, explained, “When we looked at the priorities three or four year ago and we saw the numbers of patients coming in, we wanted to help the community and we felt that was one of the key areas. We also wanted to prevent long waits.”
Other features include all-new equipment, beds and wheelchairs; rooms for behavioral health patients; and a lounge for emergency medical workers so they can rest, work on charts and grab water and a snack before heading back out to treat patients. And, there’s a modern decontamination room for patients exposed to hazardous materials.
Parkview also will add a new wing and is remodeling its maternity department, with private postpartum rooms for maternity patients.
The new ownership brings Parkview into an eight-hospital group in Southern California, which helps Parkview have access to funds to expand and modernize, according to Brown.
“Being a stand-alone hospital today, it’s hard to get equipment and keep up with community standards,” he said. “As part of a larger system, we have better access to capital and can increase our equipment and services to the community.”
Riverside Community Hospital
Riverside Community Hospital also opened an expanded emergency department this year. The $7.5 million project started two years ago and opened April 29 at the original 14th Street entrance.
In addition to increasing the number of beds from 50 to 62, the hospital remodeled patient care areas and opened a new “fast-track” area to reduce wait times, added family friendly waiting areas, electronic kiosks for faster patient check-in, introduced enhanced safety and security technology, and opened a lab draw station for efficiency.
Renovations will continue to enhance imaging capabilities so patients can have access to X-rays in the ED, probably as early as 2020. And, a new CT scanner comes online this year adjacent to the emergency room, said hospital CEO Jackie Van Blaricum.
“We want to provide the best care as fast as we can and do it in the safest way,” she said.
Other major improvements and new technology the hospital has added or will soon include:
- The debut of four more operating rooms — one a high-tech “hybrid” operating room opening in October that allows for complex minimally invasive procedures,
- A state-of-the-art robotic guidance system for minimally invasive spine surgery,
- Technology so surgeons can have imaging scans done inside the OR,
- New technology to treat tumors with radiation,
- Computer technology to constantly monitor patients for sepsis, and
- An expansion of the neonatal intensive care unit in 2020-21.
In addition, focusing on outpatient care, a third operating room and new robotic equipment for minimally invasive surgery are coming to the hospital’s outpatient De Anza Surgery Center across the street from the hospital.
Founded in 1901, Riverside Community Hospital has made a huge investment to keep up with the growing population and demand for healthcare services, according to hospital officials. In October 2017, a new seven-story patient tower opened to accommodate 105 patients in all-private rooms, going from 373 beds to 478. This was part of a larger $460 million expansion project that began in 2013.
The overall project included a three-level medical office building; a new, larger parking garage; seismic retrofitting of the hospital’s existing patient tower; the new seven-story tower; a new cafeteria and kitchen; and new lab.
Riverside Medical Clinic
In Temescal Valley, a new Riverside Medical Clinic facility recently opened to accommodate growth in that area. Built from the ground up, the nearly 97,000-square-foot clinic is located off Interstate 15 at 21634 Retreat Parkway.
The new facility gives locals added healthcare specialties with shorter waits for care closer to home. It replaces the former Riverside Medical Clinic in Corona, which is closing, and includes an outpatient surgery center, ambulatory care, primary care and urgent care.
Specialty care at the new clinic includes pediatrics, occupational medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology, cardiology, pulmonary, ENT/audiology, urology, orthopedic, women’s health, podiatry, cosmetic and dermatology services and procedures, health education, and wellness counselors. There’s also a café serving light food and drinks with public Wi-Fi.
“The development and location selection of the Riverside Medical Clinic Temescal Valley facility has been the result of strategically planning for the future of the region to ensure that all patients have access to essential medical resources,” said Judy Carpenter, president and chief operating officer. “As we shift from the Corona offices into the new clinic, we will continue to provide exceptional customer care with innovative medical technology to best serve our patients.”
Riverside Medical Clinic offers patients more than 35 healthcare specialties at seven clinics in Riverside County. Other clinics are in Riverside, Eastvale and Murrieta.
Riverside University Health System
In June, Riverside University Health System’s hospital in Moreno Valley joined the list of medical centers boosting the size of the emergency department.
RUHS added five new beds to its emergency department and trauma center to meet a growing demand in Moreno Valley, bringing the total number of emergency and trauma beds to 45 at the 125-year-old public teaching hospital. The expansion also includes a new lobby and a flexible space that can be shifted to accommodate the department’s changing needs. RUHS leaders say such a space is needed as the hospital works to improve services and expand access to primary care in Riverside County, which has a doctor shortage.
The hospital sees more than 90,000 patients yearly in its emergency department and Level 2 trauma center, where the most seriously injured patients receive care. RUHS Medical Center is continuing its effort to become a Level 1 trauma center by summer 2020, offering the highest level of trauma care with specially trained surgeons.
“We are the safety net for our community and becoming a Level 1 trauma center is essential,” said Dr. Raul Coimbra, chief surgeon at RUHS Medical Center. “When we put patients in the center of our decisions we provide better care. We become more efficient, and ultimately we have better outcomes.”
A major expansion also continues on a new 200,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center, imaging center and medical office building on the RUHS hospital campus. It’s expected to open in 2020. Besides the outpatient surgery center, the new $114 million building will add primary care and specialty physician groups to the RUHS campus and include an imaging center, outpatient pharmacy, lab, rehabilitation gym, specialty and primary care clinics, and a café.
Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the fall 2019 issue of Riverside Magazine.
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