Making a Difference

Community support of Palomar Health Foundation has resulted in major advances in medical technology and patient care, innovative community health programs, important support for underserved members of the community, and building and refurbishment of hospital facilities.

We are grateful to our donors for helping provide these recent enhancements to our hospital system:

iPads for Emergency Departments at Palomar Medical Center Poway & Palomar Medical Center Escondido
5 4D Echo Cardiovascular ultrasound systems
Renovation of Education Classroom, Villa Pomerado
Patient chairs, GeroPsychiatric Unit 
18 Stryker gurneys, Emergency Department
76 nurse's chairs, Palomar Medical Center Escondido
Shuttle van, Outpatient Behavioral Health Services
2 Selenia Dimensions 3D Mammography systems
2 computed tomography (CT) scanners
Major funding for Pod D, a 14-bed ER expansion


Pod D

At 9 a.m. on Monday morning, September 21, 2018, Pod D welcomed its first patients. By midnight staff had cared for 109 people. The 14-bed expansion brings the total Palomar Medical Center Escondido Emergency Department bed capacity to 72 and enhances staff’s ability to care for patients in a more comfortable setting. The expansion shows Palomar Health’s commitment to grow with the community.

The expansion should reduce the number of patients waiting in the lobby, said Michelle Gunnett, the Emergency Department director. The Emergency Department’s volume has steadily increased since opening in August 2012 recording more than 63,000 patients in its first full year in 2013. By 2017, 107,000 patients were treated, an almost 70% increase in five years.

Left as shell space but designated for future Emergency Department expansion when the medical center was designed, Pod D sits as a standalone room separated by a hallway from Pods A-C. Emergency Medical Director Allan Hansen told the Union-Tribune in an interview that Pod D will be used, at least for now, to treat patients with less severe symptoms such as: “upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, abdominal pain where the patient is able to be upright.”

About $2 million of the $4.7 million project was paid for through a fundraising campaign led by the Palomar Health Foundation including major donations from the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians ($300,000); the emergency room physicians group Vituity ($100,000); Palomar Health medical staff ($50,000); and Palomar Health patients John Forst and Don Belcher ($50,000) each.

Initially Pod D will be open during the Emergency Department’s most busy hours, from 9 a.m. to midnight.


Jean McLaughlin Women's Center Unveils New 3D Mammogram Machine

The Jean McLaughlin Women’s Center at Palomar Medical Center Poway cut the ribbon on Monday, October 1, 2018 on two new 3D breast imaging machines and one new breast biopsy machine that the site’s director says will significantly improve women’s health.
One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime making early detection critical; Palomar Health’s 3D breast imaging machines can detect cancers sooner than traditional 2D machines. The latest guideline applies to women at average risk for breast cancer. Among other recommendations, it says all women should begin having yearly mammograms by age 45, and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55. Women should have the choice to start screening with yearly mammograms as early as age 40 if they want to.
The new 3D breast imaging machines have several advantages over the older 2D machines including sharper images that detect 20%-65% more invasive breast cancers, reduced patient callbacks because of inconclusive images and a more ergonomic design for patient comfort. The biopsy machine uses automation to reduce discomfort and improve efficiency, accuracy, and patient comfort.
Together, the three machines represent a $1.1 million investment made by Palomar Health and the Palomar Health Foundation to improve women’s health in North San Diego County. One of the machine’s donors is the widowed spouse of Lori (last name omitted to protect confidentiality) whose cancer went undetected until it was terminal despite having annual mammograms.
“It is my hope that making better tools available, like the 3D Mammography machine, will help others be successful in their fight against cancer,” said Lori’s husband, James, who believes the 3D machine may have saved Lori’s life.
The Jean McLaughlin Women’s Center offers personalized service through a nurse navigator, 98% patient satisfaction (as reported by Press Ganey), and the American College of Radiology’s designation as a Breast Center of Excellence.

Pomerado Hospital Now Using Most Advanced Microscope for Eye Treatments

Doctor and Nurse using the Zeiss OPMI Lumera 700 microscope on a patient Eye-surgery patients at Palomar Health’s Pomerado Hospital are now able to take advantage of the latest in optometric technology thanks to the generosity and support of donors and grateful patients. The Zeiss OPMI Lumera 700 microscope with resight viewing system is now being used at Pomerado Hospital, as Palomar Health furthers its commitment to advanced technology. 

The microscope made by Zeiss, a world-renowned leader in optics, makes tissue highly visible, allowing surgeons to operate better and faster with fewer chances for complications. Eye surgeons will perform about 200 surgeries each year using the new microscope.

“The Zeiss Lumera is the best ophthalmic microscope money can buy,” said retina specialist Dr. Paul E. Tornambe. “I am pleased to provide our patients care using the most technologically-advanced equipment to achieve the best outcomes possible. In this era of limited reimbursement and the need for very expensive equipment, we are deeply grateful to the Palomar Health Foundation, to patients who have contributed specifically to obtain this microscope and to Carol Lazier, who contributed most generously to make acquisition of the microscope possible.”

Specialists who perform eye surgeries at Pomerado Hospital can now use the microscope to treat complex eye diseases, including cataracts, detached retinas and other eye conditions. This highly-advanced piece of equipment will also help support the growth of Pomerado Hospital’s eye surgeries as the hospital continues to work toward becoming a Center of Excellence for ophthalmic surgeries. 

Unlike older ophthalmic microscopes, the Zeiss Lumera provides better optics and safer lighting (the light generated provides a safer wavelength with less chances of damaging the retina, by eliminating UV wavelengths); and is more energy efficient. The “bulbs” it uses last longer and take up less energy, making it cost efficient. The microscope also features a high-resolution digital camera which projects real-time high resolution digital images that physicians can see during surgeries.

  • Palomar Medical Center Escondido


    2185 Citracado Parkway

    Escondido, CA 92029





  • Palomar Medical Center Poway


    15615 Pomerado Road

    Poway, CA 92064