Pharmacy expansion coming to HGH

Humboldt General Hospital (HGH) hasn’t put a date to it yet, but the word is that a long-needed project is going to happen sooner rather than later. With the millions of dollars in expansion projects to many of the departments at HGH, one area that has remained woefully inadequate has been the tiny pharmacy area at the hospital.

Virtually every patient at the hospital has needs that involve the HGH pharmacy and it performs very well, according to information provided to HGH board members. The pharmacy passed a State Board of Pharmacy inspection in October. However, the evaluators included comments in their report such as “The pharmacy is very small; there is very little storage space,” “The Clean Room is tight, not much room to get around.” and “The pharmacy would benefit from an expansion.”

HGH Pharmacist Dave Simsek told board members that there are a number of regulations coming in the near future that will absolutely require some expansion and overhaul of the pharmacy area at the hospital. He also said there appears to be a solution that will require any actual addition to hospital space. 

There is a break room on the other side of one of the pharmacy’s walls. That space could be opened up and included in the pharmacy. Doing so would result in about half again as much space, Simsek said.

Simsek joked that he wasn’t sure he and the other pharmacist were ready for such a change. “It might traumatize us; we’re used to working in a submarine.”

HGH has two pharmacists, Simsek, and Robert Hall. One of them is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Any question regarding drugs goes to one of those two pharmacists. 

Current Hospital Chief of Staff Doctor Brad Granath praised Simsek and Hall, noting that they often come in when there is a complicated case in the emergency department. “When there is a pediatric patient admitted in the middle of the night, they personally come in and handle the mix of IV medications,” Granath added. “I think it’s pretty remarkable that two pharmacists can handle all of that,” he said.

Since last month’s board meeting, Simsek has met with CTA Architects regarding the proposed expansion. “The architects are working on creating design flows that will optimize the space we’re being allocated to make sure we can meet all of the new requirements,” Simsek said.

He added that they’re trying to work out how to handle the challenges of remodeling, while still operating the pharmacy. 

Hospital board member Richard Cook expressed his approval and pleasure last month, when the expansion project was discussed, noting that the pharmacy has been in need of expansion for a long time. Other board members agreed.