The little hospital that could continues to move with the times by adding new services to meet patient needs. Lovelace Westside Hospital turns 30 years old this year.
During its three-decade history, it has changed names multiple times, weathered huge changes in the health care industry and emerged as an 80-bed facility that offers a range of services, including emergency, pediatric, birthing and women’s services, and bariatric surgery.
The bariatric program, started in 2009, is the first bariatric surgery center in New Mexico to be accredited as a Level 1 facility under the Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons, said Duc Vuong, director of bariatrics for Lovelace Bariatrics.
“We are really the pioneers for the state of New Mexico. We keep adding new procedures and taking on more complicated patients,” Vuong said in a recent interview.
He said the hospital is known for its patient education program, which provides support for patients before and after bariatric surgery.
The hospital has won other accolades, too. Quality New Mexico recognized Lovelace Westside Hospital in 2012 with its top-level Zia Award for organizational excellence.
It also has been named in Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work and been on the top 100 hospital lists for Truven Health Analytics and Becker’s review of Great Community Hospitals.
The hospital opened in 1984 at McMahon and Golf Course NW on the West Side, as St. Joseph’s West Mesa Hospital, run by the sisters of Charity Health Care Systems of Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 2003, Ardent Health Services of Nashville, Tenn., took over the Albuquerque-area St. Joseph Healthcare hospitals from then-owner Catholic Health Initiatives and the hospital became the West Mesa Medical Center. Ardent also bought Lovelace Health System and the hospital was renamed Lovelace Westside Hospital.
Since 2003, $37.8 million has been invested in capital improvements at the facility, including renovating the lobby area, upgrading the operating room, new imaging equipment and $6 million for a new birthing center.
The birthing center opened in February 2011 with nine rooms equipped for labor, delivery and postpartum recovery. There is a nursery for newborns and a surgical suite for performing cesarean sections.
The hospital had a 20-bed obstetrical unit when it was first opened but between 1995 and 2000, birthing and other specialties were shifted to other St. Joseph facilities in Albuquerque.
The last few years have seen other specialties returned to Lovelace Westside Hospital as well. In May 2012, a 2,200-square-foot area on the hospital’s second floor was opened as an inpatient pediatric unit with five patient rooms and a common room for play and socializing.
“We are now the only inpatient pediatric unit on the West Side that offers 24-hour coverage,” said Farron Sneed, who became the hospital’s CEO in December 2012, replacing Troy Greer, who had held the position since 2007.
Continuing the changes, the hospital transformed the look of its 17-bed emergency department in early 2013. The project included redecorating four of the rooms with child-friendly murals for pediatric patients.
Early this year, Lovelace Medical Group Women’s Services opened a health care center in the West Mesa Professional building on the Lovelace Westside Hospital campus. The center provides services for women such as annual exams, prenatal care, pregnancy testing and minimally invasive gynecology surgery.
Eric Evans, a registered nurse, checks the vital signs of 6-year-old patient Gabriela Galindo in the Inpatient Pediatric Unit at Lovelace Westside Hospital. The hospital continues to move with the times by adding new services to meet patient needs.Eric Evans, a registered nurse, checks the vital signs of 6-year-old patient Gabriela Galindo in the Inpatient Pediatric Unit at Lovelace Westside Hospital. The hospital continues to move with the times by adding new services to meet patient needs.