MountainView Hospital, located in the rapidly-growing northwest area of Las Vegas, recently completed a $33.5 million expansion project, which included adding new, state-of-the-art surgical capabilities. MountainView was the first hospital to open its doors to the exploding northwest community in 1996. It has been and continues to be the busiest hospital in the Las Vegas Valley, according to Mark Howard, CEO/President. “After only three years, we have made more advancements than most hospitals do in twice the time,” said Howard. “Growth is simply a necessity for MountainView. This expansion was necessary in order for us to continue our tradition of providing top-quality medical care to the residents of the Las Vegas Valley.”
In many areas of the country, especially on the East Coast, hospitals are actually closing for lack of patients, according to Howard, who serves as chairman of the 30,000- member American College of Healthcare Executives. His position requires him to travel to medical facilities all over the U.S. “When I tell people in other parts of the country that southern Nevada has built three new hospitals since 1996 and that MountainView is operating at over 98% capacity, they can’t imagine it,” said Howard. “I explain that we had to open five new high schools and 28 elementary schools during the 1990’s to accommodate all the families who have moved to the northwest part of town. That helps them visualize the growth a little.”
The expansion, which began in May 1999, added two floors to the existing four-story hospital, providing an additional 89,305 square feet. The hospital now contains almost 288,000 square feet with 192 beds. The expansion included the addition of 72 new medical/surgical beds, 12 postpartum beds and 12 pre-surgery holding beds. The two new floors also include two Caesarian-section rooms, two X-ray rooms, a Cath laboratory, and four operating rooms, two of which will provide MountainView with the ability to perform open-heart surgeries.
“With the rapid growth and changes in the makeup of our community, we felt it was essential to expand our surgical capabilities to include advanced open-heart surgery,” said Howard. “One good news/bad news situation with an expansion like this is that we have had to buy all new equipment. This means our new operating rooms are outfitted with the latest and most technologically advanced surgical equipment.” The new open- heart rooms are one-third larger than the older rooms, to accommodate all the equipment and people involved in complicated surgical procedures. The Caesarian-section rooms were built with enough extra space for visiting family members. Both types of rooms are equipped with video cameras built into special overhead lighting fixtures.
As part of the expansion project, MountainView also enlarged its pharmacy, its engineering, central processing, medical records and housekeeping facilities. The hospital also added more than 100 parking spaces for patients and visitors.
The hospital plans to hire additional medical and administrative staff to add to the 625 currently employed. “Our biggest challenge is finding qualified personnel, especially nurses,” said Howard. “But once they get here, we do everything we can to make sure they’re satisfied. We belong to the HCA network of 240 hospitals. A recent Gallup poll shows MountainView ranks among the highest for employee satisfaction and physician satisfaction in the entire network.”
Howard reports that the hospital has plans to continue its phenomenal growth to keep up with population pressures. The new addition actually included space for eight new operating rooms, although they only built out and equipped four during this phase. “The other rooms can be easily added later,” he stated, “since the walls are already in place. Our ancillary services such as the pharmacy have been designed for a 400-bed facility. When we add another 200 beds within three years, we won’t have to expand them again.”