Opening the Clear Lake Campus Hospital—A five-month journey

UTMB inaugurated its new Clear Lake Campus Hospital on March 30, following the official announcement of its 15-year lease agreement for the facility previously identified as Bay Area Regional Medical Center, which took place five months earlier.

People from various groups, departments, and the local community were collaborating in St. Webster’s Blossom 200 facility, a nine-story building with a square footage of 367,976. They were working together to reopen its doors.

Russell Rodecap, UTMB’s Vice President of Associate Property Services, is part of the team that has been involved in transforming a four-year-old structure into a fully-functioning hospital once again.

Rodecap stated, “In order to ensure that hospitals operate with the necessary standards and codes, we need to consider the perspective of the Joint Commission.” Additionally, we are also focusing on the overall environment of care and the patient experience behind the scenes.

The team from Rodecap was collaborating with departments such as Environmental Health & Safety, Facilities Risk Management, Auxiliary Enterprise, Facilities Portfolio Management, Utilities, Facilities Design & Construction, and various other Business Operations & Facilities.

UTMB’s Information Services (IS) representatives have been busy building and preparing the physical infrastructure of the hospital, in addition to regularly assessing the needs of each department by checking access and network performance on countless on-site machines. This helps support the day-to-day operations of the hospital, as the technological and virtual framework provided by IS personnel assists in installing and maintaining the necessary equipment.

Recognizing the importance of having an optimally functioning system and equipment, Angel Krantz, the designated IS applications associate system analyst at Hospital Campus Lake Clear, seamlessly runs and keeps up with Epic during the “day-in-the-life” trainings.

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Providing simulations that give employees the opportunity to practice protocols and processes without the presence of life-the-day patients is critical for both prior staff support and clinicians.

Krantz, who offered to undertake the Clear Lake project, expressed, “At first, my responsibility was to ensure the availability of workstations for all drills, so that the staff could practice using Epic if necessary. However, as time went on, I evolved into a versatile support for the on-site employees, addressing a diverse range of IS inquiries and issues. They found it easy to approach me.”

While Katrina Lambrecht, the vice president of Property and Services, did a thorough job, she knows the importance of having the appropriate support and framework within the regional hospitals and operations of UTMB Health System. She understands that preparing the physical support adequately is just one piece of the puzzle.

She stated, “Establishing a hospital is comprehensive in nature. You must take into account all aspects ranging from personnel and equipment requirements to operational hours, provided services, and additional factors.”

Alviza, “Lee” Shelito enjoys being around individuals in a location where that is possible. She works as a nurse manager for the Surgical & Medical Units and Critical Care Telemetry at Clear Lake Campus Hospital.

Alviza, who used to work at the Galveston Campus, stated, “there was a significant amount of recruitment and orientation that occurred at the beginning of this undertaking.”

At the fresh site, multiple employment expos and recruitment gatherings were organized to enlist the skilled experts required to man different teams with the assistance of UTMB’s Human Resources division.

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The number of employees at the location will increase as the range of services expands in the future; currently, the Clear Lake Campus is only using 87 out of its possible 191 beds during the initial months of operation. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that over 400 positions were hired to ensure the facility opened by March 30th.

Alviza’s team, including Campus Galveston, underwent the initial training on Campus Lake Clear to instill cohesion across the organization and hire many new employees.

“All of our nurses here joined the Galveston Campus, to ensure consistency in policies, procedures and workplace culture,” said Alviza.

Annette Macias-Hoag, the Vice President of Health System Operations at UTMB, emphasizes the importance of collaboration and training in maintaining the standard of care for critical operations, service delivery, and overall health system functioning.

Macias-Hoag stated, “Consistently, for each patient, we can provide secure and effective treatment by guaranteeing appropriate instruction.” Fresh supervisors such as Gerard Wilson, Bethany Hoover, Christine Sedgwick, and Amy Eason partnered with experienced UTMB Health System supervisors to ensure they were acquainted with UTMB’s procedures, resources, and tools during their training as new staff members.

The closure of the Bay Area Community Hospital has created a void in the Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, but UTMB’s new Medical Campus is now filling that void with a warm welcome to the community.

The crowd at the hospital was buzzing with excitement as state and local leaders, as well as UTMB, spoke about what the region means and the facility. Hundreds of members of the local community turned out to get a sneak peek at the facility, which was featured at a ribbon-cutting event on March 20th, attended by representatives from seven area chambers of commerce.

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“To serve this community again,” Alviza stated, “is the ultimate objective of this entire facility.”

Recognizing what an all-hands-on-deck effort this has been for everyone involved, Lambrecht had one message to share with the UTMB community–thank you.

She stated, “We sincerely desire to convey our appreciation for the numerous individuals throughout UTMB, along with our partners within the community, who have assisted us throughout this journey.” “They have played a crucial role in preparing and inaugurating this facility for the patients we cater to.”

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