It’s not a particularly sexy topic, but like sensible shoes for a long walk, if you’re new in town, knowing where to go when you need a doctor is something that’s good to think about before you’re hurting. Thanks to Nate Nusbaum, President of California Hospital Medical Center (CHMC) Foundation, I had the opportunity to tour the CHMC facility which is the only hospital truly located within the boundaries of Downtown Los Angeles at 1401 South Grand Avenue, just South of Pico Boulevard with Hope Street to the west.
I was in awe of the Los Angeles Center for Women’s Health at CHMC, with its high-tech lobby and sleek imaging and treatment rooms. The Center describes its services as being for women who are in the prime of life–and whether that’s 35 or 65 by today’s age standards –it’s an inviting concept in women’s health care. Given the ultra modern atmosphere of the facility, I would almost expect to be greeted with a glass of champagne instead of a health care professional with a clipboard. If this is women’s healthcare for the prime of life, bring it on, baby!
The hospital has 318 in-patient beds as well as a variety of out- patient care options. In addition to the Women’s Center there are four other special services provided by CHMC: The J.Thomas McCarthy Center for Emergency Services which handles over 70,000 patient visits a year and, situated in close proximity to Staples Center, the hospital is recognized as a vital link to the Los Angeles County disaster preparedness planning. The other special services are The Keith P. Russell Women’s Birthing Center, The Los Angeles Center for Heart Health with its latest technology for detection of vascular and heart conditions and the Hope Street Margolis Family Center–more to come on that in a minute.
CHMC, a member of the Dignity Health network of not-for-profit hospitals, is experiencing a transformation that reflects the changes happening in so many parts of DTLA with more people moving downtown and an ever-growing diversity of income levels, ages, and health care needs. More singles downtown will likely (eventually) lead to more young families and more empty- nesters drawn to city life will likely lead to a growing senior population. According to Nate, California Hospital Medical Center is adapting to better serve these changing demographics.
During our tour, Nate showed me the renderings for upgrades to the hospital rooms and the family lounge area that has an expansive curved window looking out on the downtown skyline.
One of the highlights, as well as one of the more emotional parts of the tour, was our visit to the neonatal ICU where several of the tiniest babies I’d ever seen were having life and love bestowed upon them by the latest incubator technologies combined with the attentiveness of the pediatric nurses–with a 2:1 baby to nurse ratio.
In a continued commitment to serve children and families, The Hope Street Margolis Family Center, a block away from the hospital, is an exceptional facility that provides licensed childcare, school readiness, family literacy, and recreational as well as educational support for local families.
As we walked towards Hope Street Center, I asked Nate why an adjacent old apartment building had not been torn down to allow for expansion of the Hope Street Center. His reply showed me the deep understanding that Nate and CHMC have for the community: “That apartment provides housing to a number of working poor families…sometime there are six people living in one unit. Through Hope Street,” Nate explained, “We’ve been able to send several children from that apartment building to college.” Once inside Hope Street Center, and after talking with the staff, it’s easy to see why they’ve been so successful.
Along with a recreation room equipped with a pool table and a foosball table, Hope Street offers a full-on outdoor basketball court complete with electronic scoreboard. What kid wouldn’t want to hang out here!
Back at CHMC, Nate shared with me other community outreach programs the hospital offers in Healthy Eating Lifestyles, Type 2 Diabetes Management, Healthy Pregnancy and Healthy Baby programs along with prevention education on chronic diseases. Hospital medical staff are always willing to go out into the community, according to Nate, to speak to groups at offices, churches, schools or other community gathering places.
Serving a diverse community with limited healthcare facilities has its challenges, which Nate fully acknowledges. In seeking to constantly provide better patient experiences, Nate and his staff make their own daily rounds so they know first-hand if there are any concerns that management needs to address. One remarkable innovation that CHMC has implemented is the Emergency Room “InQuicker” wait time clock that operates in real time on the CHMC website. You can actually make an appointment from the website and, instead of having to wait in the emergency room, you can stay home until it’s time to head over to the hospital where every effort will be made to get you in at the time your were given. It’s the “Open Table” solution for non-critical emergency care!
Like all hospitals, CHMC seeks volunteers to support their efforts and there are always funds to be raised, challenges to address and recruiting and training to provide optimal services. At the heart of CHMC’s challenges is Los Angeles’ indigent population whose needs, coupled with upcoming ACA provisions, will require healthcare providers do more with less–putting stress on the hospital’s ability to meet growing demands. The location of CHMC between Hope Street and Grand Avenue really reflects its objectives–to implement grand plans and provide hope for all who come through its doors.
If you’d like to know more about CHMC health care programs, volunteer opportunities, philanthropic investment programs or community outreach , just leave a comment here or reach out to me through my Google + account below. I know Nate will welcome the opportunity to connect with you.