By: Eliz Dowdy

Last week a group of twelve Victor Valley women, leaders in business, media and other venues who are advisory board members of Gi & Associates, a local business in the high desert, were the first outside group to receive a guided tour of the new expansion that has taken place at Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville.

The twelve of us and one male began with refreshments served in the charitable building adjacent to the hospital, then we were escorted into the expansion section and greeted by Dr. Margaret Peterson, accompanied by Jana Bullock, director of marketing for Prime Care Health Systems. The new expansion has all state-of-the-art equipment for cardio-care; it includes medical and surgical beds, intensive care units, new heart catheterization labs, an open heart surgery suite, cardiac nuclear camera and new digital radiology system. The equipment has a futuristic look, but will greatly enhance health care for residents of the Victor Valley. Dr. Peterson told us some of the equipment already installed would be replaced because it has already been updated by newer equipment. It is not just the new wing that has all the improvements; she stated that because the health care professionals who will use the equipment will also work in the other sections of the hospital, the equipment in those units are receiving upgrades.

The new wing will employ at least one hundred additional health care professionals. The original building was constructed in 1995, that brought the total number of hospitals in the Victor Valley to three, yet there is a shortage of beds, and some patients requiring hospitalization end up waiting in the emergency rooms for bed availability.

We were able to view the entire expansion from the basement, where there is a full service pharmacy for in-patient care, where at least three pharmacists will be on duty at any given time, assisted by interns and students. Fifty-six beds are semi-private; each is self-contained including a television monitor for each patient; we also viewed the morgue where two body holds are located.

Dr. Peterson explained that a California law requires that all patient rooms must have windows; all patients utilizing the new spaces will be able to see surrounding areas, and receive natural light filtering through their rooms.

All patient charts, doctors’ input and pertinent information will become fully automated by 2014.

Desert Valley Hospital was founded and built from the ground up by Dr. Prem Reddy in 1994; it was an acute care 83-bed facility (prior to the expansion opening). It has been ranked in the top ten hospitals in California, scoring above Loma Linda, Eisenhower, and Hoag Memorial by PacifiCare’s Quality Index survey conducted in 2004. The state-of-the-art expansion will propel it into a different galaxy where patient care is exemplary.