News & Updates

June 26, 2020

John Forst donates massage chair to thank ER staff
Thoughtful community members have been finding ways both big and small to support Palomar Health throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In recent months, donors have contributed personal protective equipment, hundreds of meals, cash and more than 30,000 cloth masks.
John Forst, a San Marcos resident and former chair of Palomar Health Foundation's Board of Directors, was inspired to donate a massage chair for emergency department employees to use in their breakroom at Palomar Medical Center Escondido.
“I was in the hospital having surgery a couple of months ago and the nurses did a good job and took great care of me,” he said. “So I asked, ‘What kinds of things could you use here in the hospital?’ There’s never a lack of things. The staff always have a wish list.” After conversations with the ER staff and hospital leaders, he decided a massage chair would be most beneficial to employees. 

Dawn Morrison, a nurse in the emergency department, explained why the gift is so meaningful to her team.
“We’re so busy taking care of other people,” she said. “This is a way for us to come and unwind and relax,” she said. Nurses and emergency room technicians often work shifts that can stretch to 12 hours, so having a chance to decompress amid the stress of their job is really appreciated.
“When you get in that chair, it’s great,” Morrison said. “I used it the other day and it was such a blessing. It takes you away from your work for a little while.”
Jen Olson, an emergency department technician, was among the first employees to try it out. “I sat in it during my entire 40-minute break,” she said. “It was so relaxing!”
Forst, who helped raise funds to build Palomar Medical Center Escondido and has been a major donor himself, said sometimes a small gesture is just as meaningful as a large gift. 
“I have had a chance to be involved with Palomar Health for the past 25 years or so. I’m pretty familiar with what happens in the hospital and how hard everybody works,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the little things that help the doctors, nurses and staff know how much they’re appreciated.”


May 26, 2020

Palomar Health Foundation is proud to stand with all of Palomar Health's caregivers. These heroes don't have the luxury of staying home when a health care crisis happens. Thank you for keeping our community healthy and safe! 

May 6, 2020

With Nurses Week underway May 6-12, Palomar Health Foundation installed signs at Palomar Medical Center Poway and Palomar Medical Center Escondido in support of our nurses and all our healthcare heroes. We are proud of the extraordinary response our team has shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This gift from the Foundation is our way of saying thank you for everything you do!

Palomar Medical Center Poway

Palomar Medical Center Escondido

May 1, 2020

Palomar Health is thankful for the many gifts of personal protective equipment, financial contributions, food and other supplies received from our community. Thank you for honoring our health care team in this way! The list below reflects gifts made to our COVID-19 emergency fund received through April. 

April 6, 2020

Federal Medical Station coming to Palomar Health

San Diego County has received approval for a 250-bed Federal Medical Station (FMS) to be placed on the 10th and 11th floors of Palomar Medical Center Escondido. The FMS, sometimes referred to as a “field hospital,” is a federal government asset loaned to the state. The state then assigns a medical station to the counties with the most need. There are currently 11 Federal Medical Stations on loan throughout California.

The FMS coming to Palomar Health will be a fully operational, low acuity “hospital within a hospital” that will be staffed by Palomar Health employees.

We expect equipment for the FMS to arrive by April 15. The items will be installed by a federal team and can be operational within 48 hours of its delivery. The equipment being delivered includes 200 general use beds, 20 enhanced treatment (Westcot) beds, 10 adjustable exam beds, 5 bariatric beds, 25 toddler cots, 24 portable cribs and all necessary pharmacy and nursing supplies. 

This shelled space at Palomar Medical Center Escondido will be converted to a Federal Medical Station with help from federal and state experts.

Palomar Medical Center Escondido was built to meet the needs of a growing community and the 2.5 shelled floors were intended to accommodate future growth. 

“We could have never guessed the shelled floors would serve a more urgent community need, and we are proud to be part of the solution to keep our community safe,” Palomar Health President and CEO Diane Hansen said. 

March 26, 2020

The Board of Directors of Palomar Health Foundation moved this week to make an emergency transfer of $500,000 in unrestricted funds from the Foundation to Palomar Health. These funds are intended to help the healthcare system pay for unexpected costs related to its COVID-19 response, including the purchase of critical supplies such as personal protective equipment and lab testing supplies. Board members also have pledged to make a personal financial contribution to support this effort.  

March 21, 2020

A message from Diane Hansen, President & CEO, Palomar Health 
and Wayne Herron, Vice President of Philanthropy & Chief Philanthropy Officer:

There’s no getting around the fact that these are challenging times. The coronavirus has impacted nearly every person in our country and millions more around the world, in terms of the way we live, work and care for ourselves and loved ones. 
Despite the many changes we are all facing, at Palomar Health our commitment to you is constant. We are closely monitoring COVID-19 in our community and taking every step possible to minimize its spread. We are also carefully evaluating the readiness of our facilities, equipment and personnel. Here are some of the steps we are taking as we remain focused on our #1 priority: the health and safety of our patients, visitors, employees and the public. 
Central Command Center
A new command center has been established to give leaders a central place to receive accurate and current information during this rapidly changing situation. Representatives from our Employee Health and Human Resources departments are monitoring the situation and providing quick response to support our staff and patients.
Our visitation policy has changed. To minimize exposure to coronavirus, we are only allowing visits to end-of-life patients and obstetrics patients. Visits to end-of-life patients will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For obstetrics patients, only partners may visit at this time. The visitor must be feeling well, exhibit no signs of sickness and be at least 18 years of age. All other visitors must wait outside the hospital.
Non-Essential Surgeries
Since Wednesday, March 18, Palomar Health has been deferring non-essential surgeries at both Palomar Medical Center Escondido and Palomar Medical Center Poway. Classification as an essential or non-essential surgery will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the physician and patient. Rescheduling non-essential surgeries to a later date frees up hospital rooms and resources that can be reserved for emergency use. 
Palomar Health has asked many non-clinical team members, including our Foundation staff, to work remotely during this time. This policy will not impact patient care. No matter where our employees are located, they are hard at work and available to help you. 
High-touch surfaces in all public areas are being sanitized continually throughout the day. That includes door handles, elevator buttons, handrails, vending machines and other areas.
COVID-19 Testing
Test kits for the public are not currently available for sale at the hospital, online or any other known place in the community. To be tested for coronavirus, you must have symptoms: a fever, cough and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath. If you do not have symptoms, you will not be tested.
Help us spread the word: unless it is an emergency, those who suspect they have been exposed to coronavirus should contact their primary care physician rather than report to an emergency room. 
Our community is responding with the strength and discipline that it will take to overcome this crisis. On behalf of our dedicated staff, we pledge to be uncompromising partners in our commitment to your best health.
We value your opinion. Please call us at (760) 739-2787 or email us at with any comments or questions.
In friendship and in health,
Diane Hansen
CEO, Palomar Health
Wayne Herron
Vice President of Philanthropy and Chief Philanthropy Officer

* To receive this update by email, simply reach out to us at to be added to our weekly COVID19 update. *

  • Palomar Medical Center Escondido


    2185 Citracado Parkway

    Escondido, CA 92029


  • Palomar Medical Center Downtown Escondido


    555 East Valley Parkway

    Escondido, CA 92025


  • Palomar Medical Center Poway


    15615 Pomerado Road

    Poway, CA 92064