More Subdued Cottage Meeting

Execs Address Hospital Construction and Helicopter Noise

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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Last Thursday, executives from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital laid out the current state of construction in a meeting that was surprisingly subdued, at least compared to the recently tumultuous fights over helicopter noise.

The construction is now in phase five of seven, and the current phase will last until late 2015. Included in that work is the demolition of the north wing and construction of a building to link the original hospital with the newly completed patient pavilions. When that building is completed in 2014, the Reeves Building, Central Building, and West Wing of the hospital will be demolished.

Neighbors expressed some concern over unsafe traffic conditions on Junipero Road around the construction site, but the conversation quickly shifted to helicopter noise. After meetings earlier this year that devolved into screaming and legal threats, Cottage’s COO Steven Fellows was well prepared to ease the concerns of neighbors.

Responding to a question about noise at night, Fellows boasted that only “20 percent of flights have been between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.,” and explained that CALStar’s new helicopter, which is 50 percent quieter, will account for more than 72 percent of future flights. Fellows said that 95 percent of flights have followed the designated path of travel along Highway 101, which reduces noise and is also the required by the NTSB for all private aircraft.

Because the hospital has become so strict, Fellows explained, “All the helicopter companies are scared when they get a call from Cottage. We give them two shots, then we’ll suspend their right to land.” The only consistent problem, said Fellows, has been with Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue.

One man complained about noise from outbound flights, in which Santa Barbara patients are transported to other facilities. “We’ve only had three,” Fellows responded, “They were all pediatric cases. They were all critically ill children.”

Several people at the meeting thanked Fellows personally for facilitating communication with the community. One resident said, “This meeting was a lot less aggressive than the last one.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Cottage is a monopoly and SB will continue to have issues with it's behavior and prices.
Hopefully the neighbor outcry will keep it somewhat in check.

loneranger (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2012 at 5:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So take your health care needs elsewhere. Until the entire health care delivery system is fixed, which may or may not be accomplished by Obamacare, complaints across the board will continue.

Or one could just be proud that SB's Cottage Hospital is a premier institution and the only level 2 trauma center between SF and LA.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2012 at 8:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Every experience I have had with cottage has been excellent with the one exception being the time I accidentally strolled down the pediatric hall uninvited because I was lost. That was my fault though.

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2012 at 10:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

+1 @JohnLocke and @Num1UofAN

Santa Barbara is so lucky to have Cottage Health System. It's not perfect but it is very good. There will always be room for improvement within any health care system, but for most in SB, there is no reason to complain about CHS.

Kingprawn (anonymous profile)
November 23, 2012 at 1:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was treated well the one time I had to visit the ER @Cottage. The ER doctor's name was Douglas Hauser ... when I asked him if anyone ever called him "Doogie Howser", he did not laugh.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 23, 2012 at 5:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a friend of someone on Search and Rescue this article and Fellows needs to be corrected. Search and Rescue does not have a helicopter. The helicopters belong to the county and county fire has been transporting patients to the helipad at cottage. If information is going to be given to the public please include factual information in the future.

Priceless (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2012 at 11:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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