LANCASTER – Completion of the new 15-acre High Desert Regional Health Center would not have been possible without community involvement, Los Angeles County officials said Friday at the facility’s dedication in Lancaster.
“The charge that we are given here is monumental,” said Los Angeles Department of Health Services Ambulatory Care Network CEO Alexander Li, MD, who oversees a network that provides more than one million health care visits annually. “This campus not only represents a shining example of that commitment by ourselves, but it really represents a commitment from the county itself, demonstrating that a healthy community is actually critical for vitality and success.”
The state-of-the-art facility, which opens for patient care on June 23, replaces the existing DHS High Desert Health System campus in West Lancaster built in 1962.
The new county Regional Health Center, located adjacent to the intersection of East Avenue I and 3rd Street East, is a 142,000-square-foot ambulatory care center that provides a broad range of diagnostic and treatment services, coordinated outpatient services, including adult and pediatric primary care, urgent care, specialty care and outpatient surgery.
Beryl Brooks, who serves as the Administrator at the High Desert Health System, told The AV Times that the facility’s location is a vital to serving the health needs of people in the area.
“One of the most important things is that we’re bringing our services to the community,” Brooks said. “We’ve been out on 60th Street and Avenue I for over 50 years, and it’s not really accessible to our patients. Now they can receive services in Lancaster and get here easier.”
Ruth Oren, M.D., Medical Director and Chief of Anesthesiology of the five Los Angeles County clinics in the Antelope Valley, said that the health center’s technology will also improve services to patients.
“With all the technology this facility has, it is not only geographically more accessible, the waiting times will be shorter and the service will be faster,” Oren said. “We have moved up a notch in terms of being more competitive with the non-county entities which attract a lot of the patients.”
L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich echoed the same pledge, saying Antelope Valley residents “will now have local access to quality medical care at this state-of-the-art Regional Health Center which is centrally located and accessible by public transportation.”
Antonovich also boasted that the facility was “built on time and under budget,” attributing the project’s success to “working together with the community and keeping the community involved in the project.”
According to county officials, the total project cost was more than $141 million, which includes a design-build contract value at nearly $99 million. Construction began in February 2012, and the facility was completed in March 2014.
Behavioral Health services will include early intervention mental health services provided by the Department of Mental Health, a psychology clinic and a pediatric behavior disorders clinic.
A co-located urgent care clinic will provide walk-in access for the treatment of unscheduled health care needs and operate seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to midnight, according to officials. Clinical operations will be supported by a broad array of diagnostic and support services, including radiology, laboratory testing, respiratory, physical therapy and oncology services.
The 142,000-square-foot facility includes the two story clinical services building and two one-story support buildings. The structure is wired for future implementation of an electronic health record system and features wireless connectivity of medical equipment and devices and digital imaging throughout.
Through use of large clerestory windows that maximize natural light, art, and improved operational design, the facility aims to provide a comforting, healing, and more intuitive environment for patients, families and staff.
The facility was also designed to meet environmental energy and design (LEED) gold standards.
In addition, the building features the work of internationally-renowned artist Brad Howe. Titled “One Desert Sky”, the hanging mobiles are suspended overhead in the facility’s lobby and include more than 8,000 metal icons that reflect the aspirations and stories of Antelope Valley residents.
The original artwork was commissioned through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and the High Desert Health System Auxiliary donated $20,000 for the purchase of additional artwork which has been placed throughout the building.
Other public officials who attended the dedication ceremony included Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka, Department of Health Services Director Mitchell Katz, MD, Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist, Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Tom Lackey, State Senator Steve Knight, and Bishop Henry Hearns.
About the authorJim E. Winburn is editor of the independent statewide news journal, the Civic Bee, at www.civicbee.com. –
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