For one day, Carson City will have two hospitals.
Cathy Dinauer, Carson-Tahoe Hospital chief nursing officer, said Friday that it will take half a day in December to move about 70 patients from the old 775 Fleischmann Way hospital to the new regional medical center on Medical Parkway.
"The Carson-Tahoe Hospital Emergency Room will not shut down until every patient is out of there," she said.
The Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center will open for patients at 8 a.m. Dec. 3.
"If you have an emergency on Dec. 3 after 8 a.m., you go to the regional medical center, if you're walking in," she said. "The fire department and 911 services will know to bring you there in an emergency situation. But if you show up here (at Carson-Tahoe Hospital), we will have an ER open."
Women in labor can deliver at either hospital. Women who deliver at Carson-Tahoe Hospital on Dec. 3 will be transferred later to the medical center campus. Dinauer said it will be a happy moment when the first baby is born in the new hospital.
Vince Pirozzi, Carson City battalion chief of emergency medical services, said he expects to transport about 35 patients from the hospital to the regional medical center by ambulance. He plans to have a minimum of five and up to 10 ambulances for the move. Each ambulance will be staffed by a paramedic and an emergency medical technician. The remaining, non-critical patients will be transported by van.
"In mid -September, they will pave the access roads to the regional medical center, then we'll do dry runs to get to the hospital to make sure we stay out of the main traffic on Carson Street," he said.
But Carson City's entire emergency medical fleet will not be tied up with the scheduled 8 a.m.-to-noon patient move. A fleet of three to four ambulances will be on the streets, Pirozzi said.
He's made arrangements to borrow ambulances from Central Lyon and Douglas counties, if needed. Pirozzi said the move could be postponed if a blizzard hits that day.
Marketing Lead Coordinator Cheri Glockner said the hospital switchboard has received many calls from people worried about where they should go on the day that the new hospital opens.
"The public will get plenty of information from local media," Glockner said.
She plans to span a banner over Carson Street announcing the day of the move.
Sitting on Dinauer's desk is a 4-inch-thick binder containing the report on day one of the hospital move. It was assembled by consultant Jim Verhey, president of Normandale Associates. The task list for day one is eight pages long.
Dinauer's copy is marked with several yellow and green Post-It Notes. She compared the process to planning a giant wedding. The hospital hired the consultant just to plan the eagerly anticipated move to the 352,000-square-foot hospital. With 140 private patient rooms, the facility adds nearly 60 percent more acute-care capacity.
All services offered at Carson-Tahoe Hospital will be moved into the new facility along with new service-lines like open-heart surgery and interventional cardiology. The ER will expand to include more bays and six "fast-track" rooms to make the emergency experience more pleasant for patients and families.
Dinauer, who is in charge of the patient move, said leading up to December, staff will not stop admissions, but hospital executives hope to lower the patient count to 70 by the move. It hasn't been decided yet if the critical-care patients will be moved first or last. Patients will be moved by units.
"We'll probably postpone elective surgeries only from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4," she said.
A volunteer will be assigned to every patient as a "moving buddy," not as a substitute for a nurse, but as a helper who will gather personal belongings and check paperwork.
Hospital staff will have started moving into the new building on Sept. 23, when the certificate of occupancy is expected to be granted from the state.
For a few days after Dec. 3, security at the old hospital site will direct patients to the regional medical center. The cost of the move - from the moving trucks to the transport fees - is still not known, Dinauer said.
Carson-Tahoe Hospital will be closed for renovation into a long-term, acute-care hospital with outpatient services.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.