Kenai Peninsula residents will no longer be forced to travel to Anchorage for heart disease diagnosis and treatment.
Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of their newest wing, which features a brand new cardiac catheterization lab as well as expanded facilities for respiratory care and obstetrics.
“We’re excited about this new addition,” Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce said during the ribbon-cutting. “To each of the employees here today: smile and feel good about what you do.”
The construction of the new wing has been ongoing for the past year, and hospital CEO Rick Davis said that it was the result of a nearly decadelong effort to upgrade the obstetrics and gynecology department.
“We’ve been trying to figure out how to expand our OB department since I got here eight and a half years ago,” Davis said. “Finally about a year and a half ago we decided to combine the two projects into one and that’s really when it started making sense. So this is the end result of that.”
The new obstetrics department will be located on the second floor of the new wing. Construction is still ongoing for that portion and is expected to be completed by January of 2020. The obstetrics department is currently located in a part of the hospital that Davis said is about 50 years old.
“It needed more than just a face-lift,” Davis said of the department.
In the meantime, the cardiac catheterization lab will allow hospital staff to begin performing diagnostic and treatment procedures for issues related to heart disease. Cardiac catheterization is used, for example, to measure blood pressure, identify blocked arteries and install stents, according to the American Heart Association. Prior to the opening of the new lab, Davis said that they had to fly patients to Anchorage for these services, which happened almost daily.
The first procedure in the cardiac catheterization lab is scheduled for Dec. 12, and Davis said that he expects about 200 procedures to be performed each year in the new lab.
In addition to the catheterization lab and the obstetrics department, the hospital’s pharmacy, outpatient lab, interventional radiology and respiratory care facilities will also be located in the new wing. Davis said it will be a gradual transition, with the pharmacy moving in the same day as the ribbon-cutting and the outpatient lab to follow soon after.