Loma Linda Veterans Hospital Seeks To Expand Facilities To Accommodate Influx of Patients
Faced with an increase in patient volume over the last 10 years, the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center in Loma Linda is making plans to expand its facilities and convert doctors' offices into additional bed space, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Pettis opened in 1977 with 394 beds but later reduced its bed size to 116, in addition to 108 nursing home beds, as officials shifted more patient care services to satellite clinics and other outpatient settings.
However, in the last decade, the number of patients visiting the hospital and its outpatient clinics has doubled to about 55,000, as more veterans move into the area and aging veterans seek more care, according to Pettis spokesperson Annie Tuttle.
As a result, patients in Loma Linda -- and across San Bernardino County -- sometimes have to wait for care, according to Bill Moseley, director of the county agency that advocates for veterans. Tuttle said that the hospital could see an even larger increase in patient volume as more veterans of the Iraq war qualify for care.
To accommodate more patients, Pettis is building a two-story clinic for vision care south of the hospital and is considering adding additional parking space. The hospital also is adding four new operating rooms to the five currently in use and plans to convert office space in the hospital to make room for 14 additional beds and expanded clinics for audiology and gerontology. Pettis officials hope to find nearby office space in Loma Linda.
Meanwhile, Pettis' Palm Desert clinic plans to lease additional space and hire a third physician to accommodate increased patient demand at the facility (Beeman et al, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/11).