Goleta Valley
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Goleta Valley Health Care

The Hub of Health
GVCH Provides Care for the Greater Goleta Region

Health Care

Goleta's first and only not-for-profit, acute-care hospital was founded in 1966 to serve the medical needs of the growing community. Located at the corner of Hollister and Patterson avenues, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital has served the families of the region with distinction and a dedication to personal service ever since. Local newspapers at the time wrote of the hospital: “In a peaceful valley of lemon and avocado groves, a stately white building graces the landscape with serenity and beauty.”

The hospital's legacy includes a number of firsts:

  • In 1969, the area's first and only hospital helipad was built in front of the main entrance to what was then Goleta Valley Community Hospital, or GVCH, to allow for emergency transport of patients from off-shore or back-country areas.
  • In 1971, the first open-heart surgery in the area was performed at GVCH.
  • In 1977, GVCH remodeled its maternity ward and designed the area's first birth rooms allowing labor and delivery to take place in the same, homelike room.
  • In 1988, the GVCH Foundation was formed to provide philanthropic support for the hospital and its equipment needs.

Then, in 1996, GVCH joined forces with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital to form Cottage Health System, each continuing the long tradition of not-for-profit service to their communities, enhanced now by the cost savings made possible through shared services.

Today, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital is a hub of health care for the greater Goleta region, operating a busy emergency department with 18,000 annual visits, an active inpatient and outpatient surgery program, and an average acute-care census of 20 patients each night. Patient surveys continue to highlight the compassion, professionalism and dedication of hospital staff, as well as the warm, family-like atmosphere found throughout the hospital. An active volunteer program brings extra benefits to the hospital as members of the community choose to join the GVCH Auxiliary and offer their friendly, helpful service to patients and staff.

Plans for the future are exciting, too. The Cottage Health System board of directors recently gave approval to proceed with a detailed plan for rebuilding the Goleta facility to meet new state seismic safety standards.

“This is extremely positive news for our communities and for local health care,” said GVCH vice president Diane Wisby. “We're looking forward to building a new state-of-the-art hospital that will serve the broader Goleta community for many years to come.” The proposed construction of a new, two-story hospital still needs to receive final approval from the Statewide Office of Health Planning and Development, as well as from the Goleta City Council. The plan presented to the Cottage board calls for the 28-month construction project to begin in late 2008 and be completed by the first quarter of 2011, well ahead of the state's 2013 deadline.

Envisioned for the new Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital is a state-of-the-art community and surgical subspecialty hospital that would include:

  • Two medical/surgical inpatient units (24-bed and 20-bed units)
  • An eight-bed definitive observation unit with flexibility to care for patients of varying critical intensity
  • A new and expanded emergency department with 20 treatment rooms
  • Six surgical suites and one endoscopy suite for inpatients and outpatients
  • A wound management center with four hyperbaric oxygen chambers and six treatment rooms
  • Comprehensive lab, radiology, physical therapy and respiratory therapy services.

Looking further out, the design of the new hospital will allow for additional inpatient and outpatient services and programs as the need and opportunity arise. Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health System, stressed this need for future flexibility.

“We need to be prepared to adapt to increasing demand for services and programs at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital in the years ahead,” he said. “Advances in technology and medical treatment, as well as changes in population, will help steer that future direction.”

Added Dr Robin Knauss, chief of the medical staff at GVCH and the daughter of one of its founding physicians, the late Dr Robert Parker, “We're extremely encouraged by the board's endorsement of these plans. The future is looking bright for our community hospital and these next few years will be full of anticipation and excitement.”

The new GVCH, estimated to cost a total of $99 million and without local, state or federal funding, will meet seismic safety requirements mandated for all acute-care hospitals in California. The Cottage board envisions that this funding will come from three separate sources: operating cash from GVCH over the next several years, low-interest debt (bonds), and community fund raising through the GVCH Foundation.

With the new hospital to be built on the south (oceanside) portion of the current GVCH campus at Hollister and Patterson, the existing facility will remain operational throughout the multiyear construction project with continued easy access from Hollister and Highway 101 and adequate parking.

Although separate from this seismically required new construction, plans also will soon be finalized on the design and construction of a replacement medical office building on the hospital campus.

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