San Andreas, CA…December 1, 2016- Mark Twain Medical Center (MTMC) adds a special glow to the recent lighting upgrade in its surgery suites with a $300,000-plus cost savings to the completed project. “This project creates a more comfortable environment for our patients and our surgeons,” says Certified Surgical Services Management Director Lynn Bartel, RN, BSN. She explains, “An operating room usually seems very cool to patients because it must be no more than 68 degrees to keep things sterile. But once the overhead lights go on, surgeons are working in 80 to 90 degrees at the site of the surgery due to the heat from the bright lights. That can quickly increase to 100-plus degrees depending upon what surgery-specific garments are required.”
Ed Gonzales, Director of Facilities/Support Services and Development at MTMC, is pictured with Certified
Surgical Services Management Director Lynn Bartel, RN, BSN. They play key roles at the hospital.
Edward Gonzales, who took over as Director of Facilities/Support Services and Development at MTMC in
January 2016, notes LED bulbs in the upgraded lighting system create and maintain a consistent temperature.
He explains lighting improvement for the hospital’s two surgery suites had been proposed for years – but the
cost was prohibitive. Original structural improvements were bid at around $337,000.
Gonzales has leveraged his years of experience and contacts as a facilities manager for major health systems
to make the lighting upgrade for around $37,000 – by replacing only part of the whole system. His career
spans 35 years in health care facilities management.
He came to MTMC from Alameda Health System and was with Kaiser Permanente for seven years, assisting
in implementing various systems program and processes in direct correlation with the support services
infrastructure at the new Modesto facility which opened in 2008. Gonzales and his wife moved to Twain
Harte almost four years ago; they have two daughters and a grandson.
“I took a different approach to the lighting project here,” he explains, “looking at it as a retrofit rather than
new construction. That greatly reduced the cost of the overall project. The simplified project uses existing
ceiling booms to support new arms holding the energy-efficient LED light array. And, we have the added
bonus of up to 70 percent in energy savings.”
“Taking it from new construction to a retrofit also saved a lot of time,” Gonzales adds. “The Office for
Statewide Health Planning and Development has a lengthy process for approving hospital construction and
remodeling projects – but a retrofit is signed off with a field review once it is completed.” The MTMC project
was completed and approved November 4th.
“These are just a few of the ways we continue implementing state-of-the-art equipment and new procedures to
create a safe, comfortable environment for surgery patients at MTMC.” says Bartel.
Her nursing career spans nearly four decades in hospitals across the U.S. Her expertise as an Operating Room
nurse (RN, BSN) has helped elevate patient satisfaction and staff morale at MTMC. A recent patient
satisfaction survey reflects her success.
Bartel began fine-tuning MTMC procedures when she took over as Certified Surgical Services Management
Director two years ago. She is originally from Tennessee, moved to California in 2011 and was with a Sonora
hospital before joining the MTMC team.
Her administrative duties never overshadow her love of nursing as she oversees a staff of 25 including nurses,
surgical technicians and sterile processing technicians. “We are growing our own nurses here at MTMC” she
says proudly. “We make sure young people get to know the medical profession. So often these days high
school kids have a computer/social media focus. We show them how interacting with people can be so much
more rewarding. It works – there are now students in nursing and medical schools who started in ROP with
“I love OR nursing,” she explains. “We are constantly improving procedures and equipment to provide a safe
environment for the most vulnerable time a person can experience. All the nurses here feel the same. We take
extra care to make sure everything is done perfectly.”
“Over the 38 years I have seen as a nurse many changes have been made to improve patient care and safety.
Mark Twain Medical Center is pushing boundaries and creating the best for our community.”
Her latest implementation is a Nutritional Prep Kit – a high carbohydrate drink designed to help patients
recover faster. “The patient drinks 12 ounces the night before surgery,” Bartel explains. “Then, six more
ounces is taken two hours before surgery. It helps to keep a normal blood sugar level, keeps the patient
hydrated – and avoids the starving sensation most patients experience when fasting before a procedure.”
She notes, “Physicians provide patients with the kit, which includes a medicated soap. They shower with it the
night before their procedure and we follow up using the same soap in pre-op and in the OR.” The kit which
Bartel originated at MTMC over a year ago has been very successful and Dignity Health has made this a
standard procedure at all facilities.
Bartel balances her busy career with an active family life. She has three grown children, two step sons, six
grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She and her husband Dave live in the town of Moccasin in Tuolumne
County where he has worked 20 years for the City and County of San Francisco Hetch Hetchy Power and
About Mark Twain Medical Center
Founded in 1951, Mark Twain Medical Center is a 25-bed, critical access hospital providing inpatient
acute care, outpatient services and emergency services. The Medical Center’s Medical Staff represents a
broad range of specialties that ensure access to high quality medical care in a rural community. In
addition to being a major provider of health services, Mark Twain Medical Center is also one of the area’s
largest employers. More than 300 people are employed at the hospital and its five Family Medical
Centers. The Medical Center is a member of Dignity Health, the fifth largest not-for-profit healthcare
system in the nation. For more information, please visit our website at www.marktwainmedicalcenter.org.
Mark Twain Medical Center is also on Facebook