?The graceful curve of a long seaglass blue countertop greeted visitors Wednesday night as they passed through the airy new lobby of Hoag Health Center in Huntington Beach.
Many continued on — champagne flutes and wine glasses in hand — to tour the facility's state-of-the-art imaging center, pausing to inspect a giant CT scanner or exam rooms.
But Hoag officials said the front counter in some ways best symbolizes the newly redesigned facility's ethos.
"We tried to make the whole building more open and integrated," said Dominic Shields, Hoag's strategic planning manager.
The idea behind the center's massive expansion, he said, was to create a more efficient, flexible facility that will adapt to a changing healthcare landscape.
It will also allow Huntington Beach residents, who make up Hoag's largest patient base, to access specialized services without having to make the trek to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.
The expansion doubles Hoag Health Center Huntington Beach's previous size, adding about 50,000 square feet.
Hospital officials hope that the larger facility will encourage Huntington residents to get a wide range of services there, from check-ups to X-rays.
The building's second and third floors, which will be occupied mostly by offices for Hoag Medical Group physicians, are designed to encourage collaboration and easy communication between primary care doctors and specialists, Shields said.
The layout aims to make the traditional primary care model easier — and quicker — for patients to navigate, he said.
The revamped center's amenities include centralized check-in areas on each floor, a newly concentrated imaging center — equipped with new machines, as well as ones that had previously been scattered around the center — a pharmacy and a "state of the art" parking structure with 456 spots.
The facility includes a major boost to women's services, including a new type of 3D mammography that will help doctors better detect cancer in younger women. Hoag was the first hospital in Orange County to offer the technology, starting a couple of years ago.
Patients will be able to visit more than 30 Hoag-affiliated doctors, including specialists in close to a dozen fields, such as gastroenterology, orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, pulmonology and rheumatology.
The Huntington Beach facility is one of seven health centers in Hoag's network, which also includes two full hospitals and five urgent care centers. Combined, they treat almost 30,000 inpatients and 350,000 outpatients each year.
Hoag CEO Robert Braithwaite said that as someone who grew up in Huntington Beach, he is "very excited for the expansion."
"It was overdue in many ways," he said.
The Huntington Beach center opened a little more than two decades ago. While the new addition will be open for business next month, the renovation isn't done; ugrades to the older building are in the works.
Braithwaite added that as Orange County continues to grow, the center will likely serve as a kind of scalable template for similar facilities in other communities.
Recently, Hoag announced plans for a similar center in Irvine, near its hospital there.
Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper said the Surf City facility's central location will serve residents well.
Hoag Health Center Huntington Beach is at 19582 Beach Blvd.
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