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Valley Presbyterian Unveils Emergency Facility

Valley Presbyterian Hospital held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly restructured emergency department. The space, which initially was scheduled to take two years, ended up taking four years for construction to be completed. Gustavo Valdespino, chief executive at the Van Nuys hospital, said the project cost roughly $14 million. “The hospital was built in 1958,” said Dr. Brian Ostick, director of the emergency services department at Valley Presbyterian “The ER at that time was built to see less than 100 patients a day. To give you an idea, we saw 254 patients a few days ago. That is our normal – 200 patients or more per day.” At the opening ceremony on March 8, visitors were able to take a tour of the remodeled space, which includes increased capacity, upgraded infrastructure and an emphasis on specific needs for patients. The emergency room went from 14 to 34 licensed beds, including cardiac monitor beds. A grieving room was also added for families to have a separate space to be together when they have lost a loved one, according to Tamre Del Valle, director of critical care services at Valley Presbyterian. A redesign of the “fast track” area, where patients are brought in with minor ailments, and the lobby help create more space and ensure patient privacy. “We took our fast track area and we revamped that; we redesigned it to make it more efficient. … originally it wasn’t really part of the department,” said Kathryn Isbell, emergency department manager for Valley Presbyterian. “In the lobby we gained some space because we had an office area in the corner. We took that out so we’re able to increase the amount of patients in the waiting room, which is really important because when we get the flu season numbers, we have so many patients and we just try to find a place to put them.” Patent Battle Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. has won in court battle as the jury upheld two patents for its cholesterol-lowering drug Repatha. Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, who partnered to make a competing drug named Praluent, sued Amgen for patent infringement. The companies have been battling over their respective cholesterol drugs since October 2014, when Amgen filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Sanofi and Regeneron to prevent the competing companies from manufacturing and selling Praulent, according to a Zacks news release Feb. 26. A Delaware jury ruled in favor of Amgen in March 2016 and granted the company permanent injunction against infringement by Sanofi and Regeneron in January 2017. The judgment was later reversed by a federal circuit court, which demanded a new trial. Sanofi and Regeneron, based in New Jersey and New York respectively, plan to appeal a portion of the verdict they lost, according to a press release from Amgen. Repatha and Praulent treat people with ultra-high cholesterol; both are PCSK9 inhibitors. PCSK9 is a gene that regulates cholesterol-related protein. These inhibitors are designed for patients who could not get their cholesterol levels under control using statin drugs such as Pfizer’s Lipitor. Pacifica Strike – Almost A planned 10-day strike was called off at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley. Service Employees International Union Local 121RN, representing more than 200 nurses at the hospital, reached a tentative agreement with hospital officials late at night on Feb. 28. The strike was set to begin March 5. Nurses with SEIU Local 121 RN cited declining hospital services as a source of frustration, most recently the closure of the hospital’s labor and delivery department last year. Union members must still ratify the agreement, a statement from the hospital said. Northridge Hospital’s CMO Dr. Mark Dumais accepted the position as chief medical officer at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, effective March 11. Dumais is responsible for overseeing medical staff and ensuring patients are provided excellent and safe care, the hospital said in a release. Prior to Northridge, Dumais served as chief medical officer for Trinity Health – Mercy Medical Center in Massachusetts and University of Maryland – Charles Regional Medical Center. “Mark’s experience, leadership and passion for delivering safe, high-quality health care made him the right person to lead our medical staff at Northridge Hospital,” Paul Watkins, Northridge Hospital Medical Center president, said in a statement. “His proven ability to work collaboratively and drive clinical excellence will help ensure a strong future for our hospital.” Staff Reporter Amy Stulick can be reached at astulick@sfvbj.com or at (818) 316-3121.

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