New Stanford Hospital readies for its fall opening

With certificate of occupancy, hospital staff start training in and stocking new facility

The new Stanford Hospital's main atrium. Photo by Veronica Weber.

The new Stanford Hospital, a seven-story, plus-shaped complex that has been more than a decade in the making, reached a milestone on July 5 when it received a temporary certificate of occupancy from building inspectors, setting the stage for equipment and furniture to be moved in and thousands of staff to be trained in the new space.

The hospital's grand opening is scheduled for late October.

The 824,000-square-foot facility offers a new and expanded Level-1 trauma center and emergency department, individual patient rooms, advanced-technology operating rooms and five gardens with native California plants, among other features.

With minor construction remaining, hospital staff will soon be stocking the building with medical supplies and furnishings and eventually sterilizing the space that's been a construction zone for several years. Helen Wilmot, vice president of facilities services and planning, said in a statement this week that more than 4,000 physicians, nurses, staff and volunteers will undergo rigorous training this summer to familiarize themselves with the new hospital before it opens to patient care.

The hospital expects to bring the first patient through the door at the end of October or the first week of November, President and CEO David Entwistle said.

"I hope people will see they now have a resource that is available to everyone," he said Thursday.

Entwistle said the expanded hospital plays a vital regional role. Stanford is the only trauma center between San Francisco and San Jose, and it treats patients with a wide range of specialized medical conditions.

"At Stanford, the acuity of patients is the highest of any place I've ever been," said Entwistle, who was the top executive at other academic medical centers, including University of Utah Hospital & Clinics, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, and City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, before joining Stanford in 2016.

The new Stanford Hospital at 500 Pasteur Drive, which is built west of the old hospital, has been designed to provide a more patient- and family-friendly experience, said Jennifer Winder, Stanford Hospital’s public-relations manager for planning design and construction.

Each patient room contains a day bed for a family member that converts into a sofa and table. Other patient amenities include a 55-inch television screen in each room, patient-controlled room temperatures, and iPads to link patients to staff and families.

"There are no more visiting hours," Winder said. "Family can stay overnight."

Privacy is also a key feature in the new emergency department, which has 76 private rooms rather than bays separated by curtains. It is twice the size of the current emergency department, Winder said.

Advances in medical care have been designed into the operating suites. With an interventional magnetic resonance imaging suite adjacent to operating rooms, patients can be scanned during surgery. If surgeons are removing a brain tumor, they can wheel the patient a distance of 10 to 15 feet into the imaging chamber to check immediately whether all of the tumor cells have been excised, Winder said.

Currently, doctors close up a patient after surgery to prepare them for imaging elsewhere in the hospital. If all of the tumor was not removed it typically takes a patient two to three days to recover for a second surgery. The new setup will remove the necessity for the wait and second surgery, she said.

When the new hospital opens, Stanford will begin renovations in its old hospital building, including seismic retrofits and upgrading its patient rooms to become private. The older facility, which was built in 1959, will mainly be designated for cancer care, Winder said.

The old and new facilities are connected by a bridge and contain a total of 600 patient beds.

The hospital will host two community days on Sept. 14 and 15, during which the public will be able to tour the facility. A grand opening with ribbon cutting is scheduled for late October. More information is available at

The new Stanford Hospital by the numbers

• $2 billion cost

• 824,000 square feet of building space

• 368 new private rooms (600 total on the hospital campus)

• 3 acres of surgical floor space

• 3 MRI machines

• 3 CT machines

• 20 operating rooms

• 8 interventional/radiology image-guided rooms

• 1 interventional (iMRI) suite

• 5 gardens with walking trails

• 1 meditation room and interfaith chapel

• 30% reduced irrigation

• 35% less energy consumption


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8 people like this
Posted by Healthcare for the 1%
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:49 pm

[Post removed.]

5 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2019 at 10:56 pm

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 19, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Great news for those of us who appreciate an increased chance to stay alive.

11 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2019 at 1:34 pm

I'm really glad the new facility is almost ready. The improved ER will benefit a lot of people who are not in the 1%. The facility seismic safety will save a lot of lives in the next Big One.

5 people like this
Posted by Healthcare for the 1%
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2019 at 6:23 am

You are ignoring the realities of the way healthcare is charged in this country, that wasn't addressed by the ACA, and getting worse today:
Web Link

Today, 2/3 of personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills, and as in prior studies, most of those people had health insurance. Bankruptcies are the tip of the iceberg and misses the suffering of the majority who just deal with the horrible drain on their time, lives, personal finances, choices, and futures.

If your insurance denies your care, always after the care (you can't get guarantees up front), you are charged at the uninsured rate which can be 100 times, even though you have insurance. As a patient, you mostly only get to really know what you will be charged after you get the care. In an emergency situation, you can't exactly shop around.

In this area with "low-income" being in the six figures, we are particularly bad at taking care of this problem because we simply have failed to apply the cost of living multiplier to people's incomes (and it's not just in the healthcare arena, but it's particularly bad in health care). It isn't that easy to get medical debt forgiven if you are easily identifiable as low income, as the article discusses, anyway. Again, this ignores the reality for the majority of ordinary people living in the Bay Area.

In the last few years, the problems of insurance companies and billers deliberately causing burdens through complexity in billing so that ordinary (often sick) people cannot reasonably process their own billing accurately in a reasonable amount of time have skyrocketed. Want to help ordinary sick people in this country? Sue to make insurers have to pay for ordinary sick people to have accountants do their insurance billing, because the insurers are now using AI to implement their schemes against patients. Forcing the insurers to have to pay so that patients don't have to deal with those schemes is the only way to make the insurers stop. But in the decades since insurers have done this to patients, I have seen very few media outlets even savvy to it, maybe VOX is starting to get it, but not even the Atlantic really do.

Research shows that billing problems after care are associated with negative health outcomes. I'm sure this will be a first-rate facility, but healthcare is more than that, and I'm also 100% sure this facility is going to be as oblivious to the above problematic aspect of healthcare as Stanford and most other medical facilities in the state are today.

1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm

Posted by Healthcare for the 1%, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> (stuff)

I agree with much of what you say, and yet, I'm glad the new hospital is less likely to collapse in a large earthquake, unlike the old/existing facility. And, a lot of people have to use Stanford ER regardless. The new ER will be much better for those people. I'm glad they fixed it.

15 people like this
Posted by Traffic woes for Palo alto
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2019 at 4:33 pm

This new hospital will create major traffic issues for poor, suffering Palo alto. Can't the city prevent it from opening or at a minimum strictly limit the number of sick people that drive to the hospital.

4 people like this
Posted by Healthcare for the 1%
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2019 at 11:15 pm

I definitely agree with you there, including that it's just safer for the doctors and healthcare workers on a daily basis. El Camino Hospital is new, too.

I'm afraid to go to either of them, though, including that I am still paying for the cost of some imaging that could have been had for the price of the copsy outside, and dealing with the billing from another incident took a huge toll for over a year of my life. And that's just the most recent. I know of a young couple (not here) whose preemie baby daughter's life was saved but who were made homeless by the medical bills and couldn't keep their children because of it. Every other first-world country on the planet has some form of low-cost universal healthcare, often higher quality than here. (I am shocked that when I say that, the majority of the time even highly educated people will indicate that they think it's all single-payer in those places and that they have less choice, and that's simply NOT the case.)

If I'm to have to cover a cost of the care, I should have an easy way to ascertain an accurate bid of the exact amount BEFORE I get the care and to (where possible) compare, and I shouldn't have to pay anything more if I am not. I shouldn't be expected to handle a complex mess as if I were an accounting company, either. Insurers and providers use computers and AI, there is simply no plausible excuse that they cannot do this beforehand rather than after the care. What has happened with insurance and healthcare costs in this country is nothing short of an abusive grand shakedown, and if medical providers even want to pretend they care about the wellbeing of people, they must begin to consider that aspect of what they do to people's lives. Maybe now that they are in that nice new safe facility, they can turn their attention to not destroying the lives they purport to save. How hard could it be if everyone else like us on the planet can do it?

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