Cottage Health System to consolidate birthing services at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

March 2008

The Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital (GVCH) Birth Center this summer will shift its operations and personnel to Maternity Services at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (SBCH) — three years ahead of schedule.

Consolidating obstetrical services and staff in one location has been the vision of hospital planners for a number of years.  The move of GVCH operations was expected to take place once the new women and children’s facilities at SBCH were completed, part of the $700+ million reconstruction now under way.  However, with recently announced changes in physician practices it has become necessary to bring the two programs together at this time, say hospital officials.

 “While we are saddened to see these services leave GVCH earlier than planned, this makes the most sense,” said GVCH vice president Diane Wisby, who has been with the Patterson facility since before it joined forces with Cottage more than ten years ago.  “I am so proud of what this dedicated staff of professionals has accomplished over the years, including the first Baby Friendly designation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in the State of California, and the eighth in the nation, and the development of The Lactation Center to provide support for nursing mothers.  And I am delighted that the Birth Center staff will be joining their peers at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to continue providing exceptional care to local families.  The community should be heartened to know that the skills and personal attention for which the GVCH Birth Center has been recognized will continue at SBCH.”

The move is expected to take place by July 1.  Childbirth classes now held at GVCH will be incorporated into those held at the Santa Barbara campus.

In the meantime, the proposed construction of a new 2-story GVCH at Patterson and Hollister is progressing through the approval process with the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, as well as with the Goleta City Council.  If all continues on schedule, the plan calls for the 28-month construction project to begin in mid 2009 and be completed by the end of 2011.

Envisioned for the new Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital is a state-of-the-art community and surgical subspecialty hospital which will include:

Two medical/surgical inpatient units (24-bed and 20-bed units);
An 8-bed definitive observation unit with flexibility to care for patients of varying critical intensity;
An expanded emergency department with 20 treatment rooms;
Six surgical suites for inpatients and outpatients;
An expanded wound management center with four hyperbaric oxygen chambers and six treatment rooms;
Comprehensive lab, radiology, physical therapy and respiratory therapy services;
Other centers of excellence under investigation and study.
Looking further to the future, the design of the new hospital will be such that additional inpatient and outpatient services and programs can be added as the need and opportunity arise.  Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health System, has stressed this need for future flexibility.  “We need to be prepared to adapt to increasing demand for services and programs at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital in the years ahead,” he emphasized when plans for the new GVCH were announced in 2006.  “Advances in technology and medical treatment, as well as changes in population will help steer that future direction.”

The new GVCH, currently estimated to cost $103 million and without any local, state or federal funding, will meet seismic safety requirements mandated for all acute-care hospitals in California.  The Cottage Board envisions that this funding will come from three separate sources:  operating cash from GVCH over the next several years, low-interest debt (bonds), and community fundraising through the GVCH Foundation.

With the new hospital to be built on the south (oceanside) portion of the current GVCH campus at Hollister and Patterson, the existing facility will remain operational throughout the multi-yearconstruction project with continued easy access from Hollister and the 101, and adequate parking.

Although separate from this seismically required new construction, plans are also being finalized on the design and construction of a replacement medical office building on the hospital campus.

The Goleta hospital, which has been serving the Goleta community for almost 42 years, has been part of the Cottage Health System since 1996.  Last year, it provided inpatient care for more than 1,850 local residents and treated almost 18,000 people in its emergency department.

Cottage Health System, the parent organization of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and its associated Cottage Children’s Hospital and Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital, and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, is guided by a volunteer board of directors from the greater Santa Barbara community.  Last year, the not-for-profit hospitals provided inpatient care for 21,000 people, treated 63,000 patients through their 24-hour emergency departments, and helped deliver 2,800 newborns.  With a staff of more than 2,500, Cottage is the largest private employer in the County.

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Contact:  Maria Zate (805) 879-8986
Public Affairs