It was noon at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, and almost every one of the 710 parking spaces were filled.
What would be considered an accomplishment - and an envy of local retailers -is also a small problem.
"Parking is tighter than we thought it would be," medical center Chief Operations Officer Kevin Stansbury said Tuesday. The number of available spaces fluctuates through the day. Midday is the busiest time. He said patient counts are higher than they were expected to be. The medical center admits about 36 patients a day, which is 11 more than the old hospital.
Adding to the problem is that some of the spaces are filled by construction storage and vehicles.
"We have about twice as many parking spaces at the regional medical center as we had at the old hospital, but nonetheless we are looking at a couple solutions," Stansbury said. "One is to add 150 to 200 spaces, which should be plenty to meet our needs."
After a week-and-a-half in business, Carson City's new 352,000-square-foot medical center has received positive reviews from patients, along with reports of a few network and computer glitches. None affected patient care.
The regional medical center, 1600 Medical Parkway, opened for patients Dec. 3 after the closure of Carson-Tahoe Hospital in downtown Carson City. The old hospital will become Carson Tahoe Specialty Medical Center in mid-December. The first floor will be used for outpatient services. In the summer it'll open for long-term acute care.
Debby Klipp, nurse manager for medical oncology, has already decorated her office for Christmas. She hasn't yet received a name plate for her door.
Klipp has 29 beds in her unit and oversees a staff of 62. The move gave her five more beds, which means that she had to hire five more workers.
"Patients are sleeping better at night without a roommate," she said. "We have been near capacity because it's the end of flu season. The weather is colder and our main population, the elderly, comes in because of chronic illness."
She said the new hospital is succeeding because it's a quieter environment and has more space for staff. The regional medical center has double the number of nursing stations - 10 - compared to the old hospital.
Klipp said moving to the medical center was like a long-awaited Christmas gift. The staff helped design what they needed for patient care more than two years ago.
Laura Nevin, interim telemetry manager, said the move showed her just how many supplies are needed. Telemetry shared space and supplies with oncology at the old hospital. Nevin has a three-page list of supplies that her staff needs now that the 20-bed unit has its own space.
"It's like packing a suitcase," she said. "You don't know you need it until you've forgotten it."
Jeane Sullivan, who was admitted to the hospital about a week ago with diabetes complications, had spent some time at the old hospital.
"This is ever so much prettier," she said, while sitting up beside her medical bed. "And it's quieter."
The chief operations officer said many people attribute the parking problem to a more romantic idea: It's so nice patients don't want to leave.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
Number of patients admitted since opening day: 362, that averages out to be 36 a day
Number of surgeries: 26
Number of births: 31
Number of MRI scans: 62
Total number of imaging scans: 2,500, which includes X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds and nuclear medicine tests