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New Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital to Officially Open October 29


Willits, CA -- After three years of construction and anticipation, the $64 million new Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH) located on One Marcela Drive is set to officially open its doors on Thursday, October 29.

“This three-year construction process has taken longer than expected and the leadership team, providers and all staff, have been amazing in their determination and hard work throughout the preparation to open the new hospital,” shares Rick Bockmann, HMH president and CEO.

“The next step is to officially open our doors and move our patients from the current hospital at One Madrone to the new facility on One Marcela drive, which is scheduled for October 29,” he adds.
The old hospital is just over a mile away from the new facility on One Marcela Drive, but the two buildings are worlds apart. “Aside from being earthquake-proof, the new HMH is designed for the patient experience. It's built to foster a healing environment for our patients,” said Amy Ford, project manager for the construction. Community members who went on guided tours during the grand open house last month agree. “It’s a hospital but it doesn’t feel like it. It is so high-tech and yet it feels comfortable and inviting. The artwork is beautiful, every little detail is perfect,” says Kathleen Goss after a tour of the new hospital.

In addition to state-of-art operating rooms and a spacious Emergency Department, the new hospital has beautiful artwork displayed, adding to that feeling of comfort and healing. “All the artwork was created by local artists in Mendocino County. We are the only art gallery open 24/7 and it adds to that healing atmosphere that we wanted our patients to feel,” shares Bockmann.

Before HMH opens its doors, those patients currently receiving care at the old facility at One Madrone will have to be moved into the new facility. The move is scheduled the morning of 
Thursday, October 29 starting at 6:00 a.m.

“We expect that the move will go seamlessly. During that time, they will see ambulances going back and forth and I’d like to assure our community, this is just part of the move and not an actual emergency. We’ve taken every effort to plan this thoughtfully while keeping patient safety in mind and reducing the disruption to traffic on Main Street,” he explains.

Staff at the two facilities will spend half the day operating two fully staffed emergency departments until the last patient at One Madrone is able to be treated and transported to the new hospital on One Marcela Drive. 

Each hospital will have its own command center, where administrators and others will track the move's progress and handle any potential issues that may arise. “We've rehearsed the entire maneuver of moving the patients from the old hospital to the new hospital for months. Keeping our patients safe and comfortable is our first priority. Because we are so well rehearsed, we feel very prepared,” Bockmann said.

Depending on the number of patients in the hospital that day, the entire process could take approximately four hours. As all patients are transported, they will be asked numerous times throughout the process to confirm their names and dates of birth so that everyone is accounted for at each stage of the transition. Karen Scott, VP for patient care staff has been preparing patients and patient families about what to expect on move day. "They're all excited to be part of this historical moment," Scott shares.

Once the last patient to move has left the old hospital, the plan is to officially close it for good. Bockmann says the logistics of moving into the new facility are enormous. Because of the distance between the old and the new hospital, everything has to be meticulously choreographed.

The new hospital is more than double the size of the old one. It offers 25 private rooms with bathrooms, state-of–the-art operating rooms, a spacious emergency department with trauma bays, and a helipad, which was not available at the old hospital.

The move into the new hospital is expected to be complete by noon on Thursday, October 29.

Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,600 includes more than 20,500 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,600 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 220 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers.