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New patient unit looks like seaside town Laura Gilbert Communications Director Paradise Valley Hospital, For Promotional Consideration | Sat, May 10 2014 12:00 PM

Nothing about the new patient unit at Paradise Valley Hospital resembles a hospital — more like a seaside get-away complete with rooms decorated to look like beach cottages, clear-blue skies overhead and a boardwalk for strolling during therapy.

For patients who require spine surgery, the new San Diego Spine & Joint Center at the hospital will at least make recovery a little more enjoyable.

“This is not your typical hospital program or hospital stay,” said Dr. William Tontz, medical director of the spine center.  Modeled after the nationally renowned Marshall Steele program, Dr. Tontz developed this program in partnership with Paradise Valley to improve outcomes and provide superior experience for individuals having spine surgery.

“First and foremost, we do not see our patients as being sick,” Dr. Tontz said. “Instead, we see our patients as healthy individuals who are coming to the hospital because they have back pain and want to live a better quality of life by having spine surgery.”

Not only is the new unit likely the most unique among all San Diego hospitals, the program’s fundamental concept of wellness is executed throughout the entire program, which incorporates the most advanced minimally invasive, advanced analgesic, and rapid-recovery surgical techniques with an environment that maximizes patient recovery through education, a culture of early mobility, family involvement and group interaction. This is the first Marshall Steele-based program in San Diego County.

The fundamental concept of wellness is also executed throughout the patient’s stay – as they wear clothes from home rather than hospital gowns and start therapy early the next morning after surgery. The end result has proven that hospitals that incorporate the Marshall Steele model of care and recovery have superior outcomes.

“We evaluate each patient on multiple clinical, functional and patient satisfaction criteria,” explained Dr. Tontz. “These outcomes are analyzed during monthly performance improvement team meetings and enable Paradise Valley staff to become masters of teamwork.”

“This program will be a game-changer for San Diego patients, and will lead to an entirely different patient experience,” said Neerav Jadeja, Paradise Valley Hospital administrator. He added that the spine unit opened May 5 and the total joint replacement program will open in a couple of months.

Paradise Valley Hospital is among the Top 100 Hospitals in the Nation as named by Truven Health. For more information about the San Diego Spine & Joint Center at Paradise Valley Hospital or a tour, visit

ParadiseValleyHospital.org or call (619) 472-SPINE (472-7746).

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