Adventist HealthCare Opening State of the Art Hospital in 2 Weeks

Washington Adventist HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Rost outside one of the new White Oak Medical Center’s emergency room suites. Photo by Bruce DePuyt

Patients at the gleaming new Adventist HealthCare hospital in northern Silver Spring will find themselves being cared for in rooms that were designed primarily by staff — nurses, doctors and others — not by consultants or hospital executives.

Geoffrey A. Morgan, Chief Facilities & Property Management Officer for Adventist HealthCare, said every patient room at the 180-bed White Oak Medical Center – whether in the emergency department, the maternity wing, the surgical suites, or other critical care areas – first received a “mock-up” from an architect, but from there it was up to front-line workers to bring their expertise.

“We took the nurses and the clinical staff into the room and we said, ‘Tell us, where every outlet, every switch, everything needs to be in this room,’” Morgan said.

“We took our surgeons, our anesthesiologists and our operating room nurses to a design studio in South Carolina…to design [the OR suites],” he said. “We designed those rooms to deliver all of the utilities to the patient and to the table from the ceiling, rather than have cords and hoses dragged across the floor.”

The $400 million White Oak Medical Center will replace the Washington Adventist facility in Takoma Park, a century-old hospital (originally the Washington Sanitarium) where ER patients now routinely spill into the hallway due to a lack of space.

In the new emergency department, each patient will have a room to themselves, with a sliding glass door to provide privacy and reduce the general anxiety associated with trauma care.

“Behavioral health is a big center of focus in the state right now,” said Dr. James Rost, Adventist HealthCare’s chief medical officer. “We have a couple rooms in the ED where patients can come in and not be exposed to all the hustle and bustle, the bells and whistles, so they can have more of a quiet environment.”

On a tour Monday, hospital officials said the new 511,000-square-foot facility (three times larger than the current hospital) will have larger and more advanced cardiac surgery, cancer treatment and emergency services.

They expect to deliver far more babies. (Last year there were 2,200 births at the Takoma Park hospital, an average of six per day.)

The first boy and the first girl delivered at White Oak Medical Center will each receive “a very generous gift basket,” Rost said.

The new hospital is scheduled to open on Aug. 25.

“We’re humbled. We’re honored. It’s a wonderful opportunity to relocate a hospital to a setting that allows us to expand and grow our services,” said Terry Forde, President/CEO of Adventist HealthCare.

“We’re moving to the center of our service area,” Forde said. “This area provides better access to the patients we’ve been serving for the last 112 years.”

U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), who toured the facility Monday, noted that the hospital is moving to an area that has seen significant growth.

“Adventist Hospital is going to provide a modern, new hospital right in the center of growth,” he said. “That’s exciting.”

Forde said proximity to the Interstate 95/U.S. 29 corridor and to mass transit were key factors in the decision to locate to White Oak. The facility is 1.3 miles southeast of the intersection of Columbia Pike and East Randolph Road.

The White Oak Medical Center will have a helipad, mostly to bring cardiac care patients from other hospitals, officials said.

The ability to start from scratch — with newly-designed rooms, a larger setting and all-new equipment — will benefit both patients and staff, Morgan said. “That ties directly to the quality of care and the safety of care that’s given.”

The 1,400 employees who work at the current hospital have been cycling through the White Oak facility over past few weeks for training and orientation.

A new medical building, set to open next spring, is already going up next door, and a rehabilitation unit will open in the fall of 2020.

Forde said the 50-acre site (of which nearly 30 acres are developable) allows even more room to grow.

The hospital in Takoma Park will remain open — but not with an emergency room or a full range of services. Some of it will be used to provide urgent care and outpatient services, while a portion will become doctors’ offices. The remainder will be sold to Washington Adventist University, which is next door.

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Bruce DePuyt
Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA. He's a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.

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