Jill Miramontes – Sharp Grossmont Hospital
Before a neurosciences center can be built, the organization behind it must become qualified to provide such advanced care.
Sharp Grossmont Hospital, located in East San Diego County, got the green light in early 2020 when it received accreditation as a comprehensive stroke center. Now, after weathering the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital has refocused on its goal of creating San Diego’s first “single center of excellence” for advanced neurosurgical, neurological and comprehensive spine care.
“We’re trying to be the neurosciences center that people seek out,” says Jill Miramontes, the hospital’s director of facilities and support services.
She’s overseeing the project start to finish, coordinating with the hospital’s facilities management and development teams—along with architects, contractors and vendors. In June 2022, the project was well into the design phase, with the facilities team securing permits to begin construction later in the summer. The multi-phase project will likely be completed by mid-2024.
According to Miramontes, the neurosciences center will allow Sharp Grossmont to provide more advanced and intensive care. The 542-bed hospital is part of Sharp HealthCare, a nonprofit health care group with four acute care hospitals and three specialty hospitals in San Diego County.
The neurosciences center is part of Sharp HealthCare’s 10-year, $2 billion ENVISION initiative aimed at improving the organization’s facilities, implementing new technologies and hiring more specialty clinicians.
Located in a building currently used for rehabilitation services (which will remain on site), the $58 million neurosciences center will have an inpatient progressive care unit, an inpatient rehabilitation unit and a neuro-intensive care unit.
To accommodate the new care units (and nearly 30 new patient beds), the building will be renovated and expanded. Miramontes says a second story will be added over the entrance area to create new offices for staff and create separation between them and patients. During the design phase, she’s been working with staff to understand their needs.
“If we just made decisions, no one would be happy,” she says. “I can look at a floorplan, but I don’t understand staff workflows. It requires constant communication and seeking their input.”
As the design phase wraps up, Miramontes is ensuring the finishes are cohesive and match hospital standards. The technical aspects, however, are in the hands of partners and vendors.
“We design as much as we can, but the construction and architect teams understand the codes and are experts in what’s possible for a space,” she says. “It’s a full team effort.”
During the preconstruction phase, Miramontes has been locating temporary workspaces for the rehabilitation staff. In determining what they’ll need, she found some people could be permanently relocated as their work doesn’t relate to rehab. For the others, she ensures the spaces are comfortable and functional, meaning the layout won’t impede their workflow, the space is well-lit, and employees can access the tools and resources they need.
Miramontes got plenty of practice redesigning workspaces during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. When California mandated that all hospitals had to increase capacity by 40 percent, she and her team had to get creative.
“We had to get in as many beds as possible as quickly as possible,” she says. “We looked at every single space in the hospital and analyzed if it could house patients.”
Miramontes worked with nursing staff to determine how spaces could be repurposed. For example, in one area of the hospital, there was a block of offices that had previously been patient rooms, so she and her team converted them back. In relocating one department, space was made for 18 new beds.
Other beds were added for COVID-19 patients in pre-operation areas and the post anesthesia care unit. Miramontes and her team also made plans to house non-COVID-19 patients in a large gymnasium within the hospital, but the need never arose.
“During COVID and with every project we work on, everyone is so dedicated to coming up with the best solutions,” she says. “I couldn’t do this without the wonderful team I work with.”
Finding her niche
Growing up, Miramontes never questioned whether she’d work in the medical field. The only question was, “How?”
“I’d always imagined I’d be a doctor like my dad or a nurse like my mom, but I realized I wasn’t good at science and didn’t want to go that route,” she says.
While studying marketing at Penn State University, she went on a mission trip to Guatemala and had her eyes opened to the lack of access to healthcare in other parts of the world. Upon returning home, she researched hospital careers aside from being a doctor, and a couple years later graduated with two bachelor’s degrees: one in marketing; and one in health policy and administration, as well as a minor in international studies.
Miramontes continued attending Pennsylvania State University to earn her master’s in health administration. While there, she did her residency at Freeman White, a healthcare architecture and planning firm in North Carolina.
“I couldn’t believe what they were doing and the way they impacted workflows to improve patient care,” she says. “I fell in love with facilities.”
After graduating in 2015, she moved to the West Coast and took a yearlong fellowship with Sharp HealthCare, where she worked in finance, marketing and facilities. When a full-time position opened as the fellowship ended, she applied and became the project manager for campus planning.
In May 2020, she was promoted to her current role, which in addition to facilities, includes overseeing food services, environmental services, engineering, campus planning, information systems, safety and more.
“This is a great hospital and I’ve been able to learn and grow a lot here,” Miramontes says. “There’s always something exciting to work on.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. IV 2022 Edition here.
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