By Clare Michal
At a recent Albondigas Political Society South County lunch, John Mendez welcomed Sharp Chula Vista CEO Dr. Pablo Velez to explain how the medical facility’s major expansion is breathing new life in to the South Bay community located in Diane Harkey’s Fourth District.
Dr. Velez, a nurse that worked his way up to lead the major medical facility that serves over 90,000 patients annually, discussed the new construction and impact of Sharp Chula Vista on the community.
The new seven-story tower will include 138 private rooms, six operating rooms, and ten intensive care suites. Existing structures at the 40 year old hospital will also be remodeled or demolished by 2030. The new tower will have panoramic ocean views adding to the relaxing environment of the hospital.
The expansion has a lot of heart and will make it easier to best help those with cardiac heart conditions. The expansion adds a new cardiac hybrid room that will allow doctors to serve cardiac arrest (heart attack) victims in one room as opposed to the current care which requires the medical team to move the critical patient. Furthermore, it is a 20 plus minute ride to the next hospital to get assistance with a heart attack in the event that Sharp is full. With the additional rooms more can be served in their time of need.
Sharp’s “patient-oriented philosophy” is also part of the expansion as the incorporation of larger rooms and private suites will allow for family care. These rooms will allow the opportunity for a family member to stay with the patient and serve as part of their recovery team.
The new facility will create a place of calmness with a garden area to relieve stress, and a new café that will have views as far as Coronado to create a feeling of tranquility. To remove the impact of parking on the neighborhood the facility upgrade includes the addition of 700 parking spots
The facility will also integrate innovative patient care by having equipment “room ready” as opposed to all over the hospital. This method is forward thinking and will reduce the spread of harmful viruses and infections.
In addition to providing opportunities for patients, Sharp employs over 1,600 employees. Some could say they are the heart of Chula Vistas business community (Dr. Valdez is President of the Chula Vista Chamber), and with the expansion of the new facility their workforce is expected to expand as well.
In 1950, Thomas E. Sharp donated $500,000 to the San Diego Hospital Association to build a hospital to honor his son Donald, a Pilot in the United States Army Air Forces who was killed in World War II. In 1955 Sharp Memorial Hospital opened in the Serra Mesa neighborhood of San Diego. Since then Sharp Healthcare has served San Diego County with hospitals and specialty centers throughout the County and is one of the county’s largest employers. Included in those hospitals is Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center which is breathing new life into Chula Vista’s healthcare and economy!
“We’ve been down here for 40 years, and we intend to be here for 40, 80, 100 more years to come,” Dr. Valez told the luncheon.
Dr. Pablo Velez, CEO of Sharp Chula Vista shows plans for the hospital’s expansion.
Artist rendering of the new entrance planned for Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center