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Hospital Boosts Competitive Edge with Improvements

Jessica Vernabe Antelope Valley Hospital officials expect to start construction this month on a more than $30 million project that will expand its catheterization lab and improve other areas of the campus. Plans are to replace the hospital’s existing one-suite catheterization lab with a cardiology and vascular center that includes three new cath lab suites, said Edward Mirzabegian, the hospital’s CEO. He said the project should sharpen the Lancaster hospital’s competitive edge. The new cardiovascular center will provide about 15 pre- and post-treatment beds for patients, Mirzabegian said. The hospital will also relocate and renovate its blood donor center, reconstruct and expand its parking lot and do some other sizeable improvements. The project also calls for new equipment – a new upgraded MRI images system, along with two new 64-slice CT scanners that have already been added, Mirzabegian said. He said the upgraded technology is particularly important in differentiating the hospital. “We are a trauma center, and the goal is to be a top referral center in the northern part of Los Angeles County,” Mirzabegian said. The infrastructure and equipment upgrades also have the potential to add to the hospital’s bottom line, he said. “You attract more physicians and more patients,” Mirzabegian said. “More procedures will be done overall. It’s going to improve the revenues side of the business big-time.” Mirzabegian said he expects the improvements to start adding to revenues within the next year. The hospital planned the improvements a few years ago, but began securing funding in the past year, Mirzabegian said. The project is mainly being funded by private and public bonds, he said. Construction is expected to be complete within the next18 to 20 months, said George Rowerdink, the hospital’s director of facilities. In order to accommodate patients during parking lot construction, the hospital will offer free valet parking services for patients and their families. The health care facility’s next phase of construction will be to build an additional hospital tower with 180 to 200 beds within the next five years, Mirzabegian said. Anthem Adds Care Management Partner Anthem Blue Cross has selected APS Healthcare to provide care management and coordination services for some of Anthem’s Medi-Cal members, the Woodland Hills-based insurer announced. White Plains, N.Y.-based APS Healthcare started providing the services for Anthem members enrolled in California’s Seniors and People with Disabilities Program (SPD) on June 1, which is when the program transitioned to managed care. The focus of the new program is to identify and address social and environmental issues that can act as health care barriers for senior and disabled members. “We know SPD beneficiaries require a very personalized approach to their health care needs, and we want to help ensure that our members have access to care management programs that will meet their unique needs,” said Kevin Hayden, president of Anthem’s State Sponsored Business. Dr. Jerry Vaccaro, APS’s president and chief operating officer, said the company’s community-based approach has already been deployed in multiple states. “We are very excited to begin our work with Anthem Blue Cross,” Vaccaro said. “APS Health Care is uniquely positioned to improve the health of the highest risk Medi-Cal members.” Hospital Program Gets Accreditation Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s inpatient diabetes program is the first in Los Angeles County, and the third in California, to be certified by the nonprofit accreditation agency Joint Commission, the Burbank-based hospital recently announced. The Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction recognizes hospitals that make exceptional efforts to improve outcomes for patients throughout their facilities. Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center received the certification after a day-long inspection that focused on all facets of care, including nursing, nutritional services and laboratory services. “We treat patients with diabetes in every department of the hospital, from the Emergency Department to the ICU, from maternity to operating rooms,” said Brenda Clemens, the hospital’s director of quality improvement and accreditation. “It’s challenging because it involves a great deal of staff education.” The hospital announced that the inspection survey showed no needs for improvement and compared the hospital’s diabetes program to those operated by large academic medical centers. “I’m proud of our physicians and staff for consistently meeting our goal of providing top quality programs to ensure the best for our patients,” said Barry Wolfman, the hospital’s CEO. Staff Reporter Jessica Vernabe can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or at jvernabe@sfvbj.com

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