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Ojai Valley Community Hospital

Bringing Quality Healthcare to the Residents of the Ojai Valley

Happy ays Modernizing Ojai Valley Holid Community Hospital

Ojai Valley Community Hospital is a 103-bed, non-profit, community-based acute care facility serving the over 35,000 residents of the Ojai Valley.

AMONG OUR DISTINCTIONS ARE: • Licensed by the California Department of Health Services • National accreditation from DNV Healthcare, focusing on quality, innovation and continual improvement • Highly trained physicians and specialists work closely with our full staff of healthcare professionals, management and volunteers to bring a high level of care to the residents in the Ojai Valley


If you have been to your community hospital recently you may have seen a flurry of activity going on. That’s because we are in the initial process of modernizing the 52-year old hospital. A new roof, and new air conditioning and heating units, have been installed as part of our plan to become fully compliant with state-mandated earthquake safety standards. Besides meeting these safety standards, the new heating and air units are a long-anticipated improvement that staff, patients and visitors alike will certainly appreciate as Ojai Valley temperatures routinely dip in the winter and heat up again come summertime.

Inside, the more noticeable changes were the upgrades made to the hospital’s 4-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Construction crews added new flooring, improved the staff’s work stations, and anchored the ceiling braces in the 1,630-square-foot ICU. Strengthening the ICU’s ceiling braces was part of work being done throughout the hospital to ensure it meets state-mandated earthquake safety codes. Hospitals must address various safety regulations which are divided into two categories—structural and non-structural performance. Continued on page 4


Electrician of the Heart Ishu Rao, M.D. specializes in Electrophysiology (EP), a sub-specialty of Cardiology that focuses on electrical issues within the heart.

Ishu Rao, M.D.


Known to the community as the “electrician of the heart,” Dr. Ishu Rao, specializes in Electrophysiology (EP), a sub-specialty of Cardiology that focuses on electrical issues within the heart. Many are familiar with the effects blocked arteries or high cholesterol have on the cardiovascular system, but Dr. Rao’s focus goes beyond the common conditions and deals especially with the heart’s own electrical system. When there is a failure of the heart’s electrical wiring, the heart can beat too fast or slow and patients complain of palpitations, fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness

or passing out. An electrophysiologist determines the cause of those symptoms as they relate to the electrical system of the heart, and then remedies the cause. Consultations with Dr. Rao result in a thorough understanding of not only the conditions, but the causes as well. He weighs the pros and cons of possible solutions, and outlines for his patients the possible risks. During appointments, Dr. Rao engages his patients in interactive discussions about their conditions, and provides them with detailed illustrations helping to depict these issues. Dr. Rao has the distinction of being the first full-time electrophysiologist in the county. In 2007, he came on board at Community Memorial Hospital to help establish the EP program, and currently serves as Director of Electrophysiology Services. The state-of-theart electrophysiology laboratory at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura is where Dr. Rao treats patients. The EP program at CMH is now the busiest in the region and

OVCH Scores Major Improvements From Foundation Guild’s Fund-Raising Efforts


Everybody needs a guardian angel now and then. The people who run the Ojai Valley Community Hospital found theirs 11 years ago when a hard-working cadre of volunteers formed the hospital’s Foundation Guild and began raising cash for needed improvements at the hospital and its Continuing Care Center. To date, those efforts have brought in more than $2 million in contributions, helping to pay for a new emergency department, better electronic imaging technology, improved patient call capabilities, new arthroscopic surgery tools and more comfortable surroundings for patients and their families. That’s just the beginning. This year, Guild funds raised at the group’s two annual events, the Spring Event in May and

the Nightingale Ball being held on December 1st will also pay for: • Sixty-six new flat-screen TV’s with flexible arms and earbuds, so each patient in the Continuing Care Center will have his or her own entertainment center. • Substantial improvements to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit – brighter décor, greater convenience for nurses and doctors, and generally more user-friendly surroundings for patients and visitors. • New high-tech lighting for the operating room, affording more even illumination with lower heat and reduced infra-red radiation to minimize tissue damage. The system’s mobility and variable intensity make surgeries safer and the surgeon more sure-handed.

Dr. Rao is respected by peers and patients alike for his clinical expertise and commitment to patient care. Dr. Rao is now available for consultations in Ojai at the Ojai Center for Family Health. Ojai Valley residents can take advantage of this specialty right here in the valley. Dr. Rao received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and completed an internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and is also an active member of both the Ojai Valley Community Hospital and the Community Memorial Hospital staffs. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rao in Ojai call 805/640-2296.

Services now available in Ojai. Call for consultation

805/640-2296 “These contributions to our operations have been tremendously important,” says Haady Lashkari, OVCH Chief Administrator. “Keeping up with new technologies and treatments in medicine is very expensive, and the guild’s efforts have made all the difference.” Each year, the guild meets with Lashkari to review his needs for new equipment or improvements at the hospital, then between them determine where their funds would do the most good. Sometimes all moneys go for a single enhancement, such as the new imaging technology five years ago, and sometimes for multiple needs, as this year. “We take our financial role in the hospital operations very seriously,” said Dottie Combs, president of the guild. “It’s our way of showing the community how much we believe in the work Haady and his staff are doing to make this a better hospital.” If you’re interested in getting involved with the Hospital Guild please contact, Chris Rock in the Foundation Office at 805-640-2317.


Newest Board Members Bring Different Perspectives to the OVCH Foundation


Despite their diverse backgrounds and reasoning, the four newest members of the Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors agree wholeheartedly on this point: OVCH is essential to the quality of life and well-being of this community. Attorney Jeff Loebl, who joined the board last year, sees the hospital as a critical factor in the economic health of the Ojai Valley. “The hospital is the third largest employer and the third largest business in town,” said Loebl, whose family roots here go back to the 1950s. “Because of the services our hospital provides, other business such as our private schools are able to locate in Ojai and physicians are able to maintain practices here.” His three colleagues who joined the board this year – Meredy Benson, Craig Edwards and Peter Haggerty  –  all stress the value of the hospital to the health of people living here. Edwards, who interacts with local residents daily as a pharmacy manager, believes it is vital to have hospital services close at hand. “Time is often the critical factor in treating patients,” he noted, “and a nearby emergency department can make all the difference in saving someone’s life.”

The four also share the hope that their participation on the foundation’s volunteer board will help further the foundation’s mission to generate financial and community support for the hospital and serve as a liaison with the community. “As part of the private school community in Ojai, I come into contact with many parents, and I feel I can inform them about the services our hospital provides,” Benson said. As a pharmacist at a local drugstore, Edwards gets continual feedback from patrons about the hospital. “I get a lot of input from people who use the hospital, and I believe I can be a vehicle for sharing this information and helping determine the direction our hospital takes.” Loebl, whose law practice is in Ojai, feels he can assist in raising funds and community awareness of the importance of the hospital, while Haggerty believes volunteer participation is good for the hospital and for the community. In addition to their involvement with the hospital foundation, the four are active with other nonprofit organizations. Loebl serves on the Ethics Committee and the Institutional Review Board of Ventura County Medical Center, the Landon Pediatric Foundation Board of Ventura and the Quality

“The hospital is the third largest employer and the third largest business in town” Haggerty, a retired hospital laboratory manager, and Benson, head of Oak Grove School, share his view. “Reducing travel time for emergency services can be so important, but the convenience factor in receiving other kinds of hospital care also benefits local residents,” Haggerty explained. “If we didn’t have a local hospital, we would have to travel a longer distance for treatment and care,” Benson added. “I didn’t fully appreciate that until I needed emergency care myself.”

Assurance Committee of Community Memorial Health System. Benson is on the board of the California Association of Independent Schools. Edwards is a member of Ojai Rotary, the OVCH Foundation Guild and the Ojai Museum. He and his wife, Deborah, chaired the guild’s Nightingale Ball last year. Haggerty is treasurer of the Channel Islands Park Foundation and a member of Ojai Rotary and the OVCH Foundation Guild. He and his wife, Barbara, are chairing the Guild’s Nightingale Ball this year.

Meredy Benson

Jeff Loebl

Craig Edwards

Peter Haggerty

Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura 147 N. Brent St. Ventura, CA 93003

Modernizing Ojai Valley Community Hospital Continued from page 1

Fulfilling the non-structural performance category involves the bracing of equipment – such as heating and air units, plumbing, bulk medical gases and fire alarm systems – to withstand an earthquake. Community Memorial Health System saw the

Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development as well as the Department of Public Health to develop a temporary plan to accommodate patients in ICU and those recovering from surgery. The hospital executive said the plan worked flawlessly.

in 1960. The initial design, which will be formally brought before the city in the near future, features an exterior in the Spanish Colonial Revival style – common to many of Ojai’s landmark buildings. The design work is being done by Rasmussen and Associates. The façade, to be accented with artisan wrought iron and hand-glazed tiles, will include a domed entry tower, a courtyard with a central fountain and a clay tile roof. Lashkari stated that feedback from the community on the design has been overwhelmingly positive, and the hospital is preparing to move forward on the various steps for city approval. One of the most important projects to be undertaken is the improvements to the 66-bed skilled nursing facility. Lashkari said the health system is exploring the best solution for our Continuing Care Center, a facility that provides inpatient programs and therapy treatments for both short and long-term placement. Lashkari noted that providing a first-class facility is a goal CMHS would like to meet in the not-too-distant future. It’s a plan, Lashkari said, that will certainly take the Ojai Valley Community Hospital into the 21st century, and continues our commitment to provide the Ojai residents access to a full-service hospital right here in the Ojai Valley.

It’s a plan, that will certainly take the Ojai Valley Community Hospital into the 21st century. requirement as a good reason to replace the hospital’s air conditioning and heating units, and ensure the roof it was fastened to was structurally sound. These enhancements will help the hospital meet seismic laws through 2030. To ensure that the work in the ICU went as smoothly as possible for patients, Haady Lashkari – hospital administrator, said OVCH officials and its medical staff worked handin-hand with representatives from the state’s

Future Improvements In the coming years, Ojai residents will see many changes at the 37-bed hospital and its adjacent 66-bed Continuing Care Center, as Community Memorial Health System moves forward with its Facility Master Plan to modernize these two facilities. The next phase of the master plan is a major remodel of the hospital’s façade – the first such undertaking since OVCH was built

Non Profit Org US Postage PAID Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura

Ojai Health Care - Winter 2012  

Ojai Valley Community Hospital: Bringing Quality Healthcare to the Residents of the Ojai Valley