Westside Medical Center is first in 40 years in Washington County

After more than four years of construction and preparation, the new Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center is open for business.

The 420,000-square-foot facility in Hillsboro opened its doors Aug. 6. The first new hospital to be built in Washington County in four decades is getting rave reviews.

“In addition to providing medical services that benefit our citizens, this new investment in Hillsboro continues our commitment to promoting a healthy community,” Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey said Tuesday. “Add in the newly-created jobs and, once again, the city of Hillsboro wins big.”

“The opening of the Westside Medical Center is very important to the continued economic and population growth of western Washington County,” added state Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro). “Providing necessary medical care to our growing region is a key component of a vibrant economic development strategy.

“Companies big and small need appropriate health care services for their employees, in addition to all the other important services that bring investment to our region.”

Westside Medical Center (WMC), located at 2875 N.W. Stucki Ave. near the Tanasbourne area, is a 126-bed hospital with eight operating rooms and 27 treatment rooms in the emergency department. The facility offers the very latest in health care technology, and is considered a regional center for joint replacement surgeries.

The hospital is also a LEED (Leadership Energy & Environmental Design)-certified facility, which means the hospital has focused on energy efficiency and other environmentally sound practices.

In addition, with studies showing that an aesthetically pleasing environment helps in the recovery process, WMC has invested heavily in artwork as another aspect of healing. The hospital contracted with 84 artists from around the region to create a variety of art for display around the hospital — everything from paintings and murals to poetry and sculptures.

All the effort appears to have paid off, as hospital administrators said they are ecstatic over the way the opening day played out.

“Everything has gone smoothly, and the reason for that is that we’ve been training staff for the last three months,” Andy McCulloch, president and CEO of Kaiser Permanente Northwest, said Tuesday morning. “We’ve worked to make our staff familiar with the new buildings and technology, and now we’re ready to take the first patients.”

McCulloch said he was unaware of any snags connected to the opening.

“It has been smooth and non-eventful,” he said. “Overall, the building and facilities are exceeding expectations.”

McCulloch said the facility had already treated 10 patients in the emergency room as of noon on its first day, and the hospital had about 18 surgeries scheduled during the day.

“We tried to have a birth too, but the baby didn’t cooperate. Kids these days,” joked McCulloch.

According to hospital officials, the first two non-emergency patients having surgeries at the new Westside Medical Center included a child having a tonsillectomy and an elderly person having a knee replacement procedure.

“The first two patients are out of surgery and doing fine,” said Erin Tassey, a spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente.

McCulloch stressed that training the staff has been a high priority.

“Once the building was turned over to the hospital with the certificate of occupancy, we used the time to test the building and install high-tech medical equipment. Then we brought the staff in here to familiarize themselves not only with the building but with the equipment,” McCulloch said.

In all, WMC has approximately 1,000 employees,

There are no plans for an official grand opening ceremony. There have been numerous public visitations in recent months as the hospital prepared for its debut.

“Thousands of people have come through here over the summer. It’s been kind of a rolling grand opening,” explained McCulloch.

In total, the WMC project, including site improvements, construction and equipment, cost $345 million. Groundbreaking for the facility was in June 2009.

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