New Spine Unit Resembles Seaside Village

Laura Gilbert

Fri June 6, 2014 12:51pm

More like a seaside resort than a patient unit, the new San Diego Spine & Joint Center at Paradise Valley Hospital, which opened May 5, is one of the most unique patient units in the country.
“This program and patient unit is a game-changer for San Diego patients, and will lead to an entirely different patient experience,” said Neerav Jadeja, hospital administrator.
The unit was designed specifically to focus on wellness — and this fundamental concept is executed throughout the entire program. To this end, the San Diego Spine & Joint Center incorporates the most advanced, minimally invasive, advanced analgesic and rapid-recovery spine surgical techniques in an environment that maximizes patient recovery through education, a culture of early mobility, family involvement and group interaction.
“This is not your typical hospital program or hospital stay,” said Dr. William Tontz, medical director of the spine program. 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.
It is the first Marshall Steele program in San Diego County. Previously, San Diegans seeking the expertise of the Marshall Steele programs had to travel to Orange County.
“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.”
“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.”
Patients wear clothes from home instead of hospital gowns, are out of bed and into rehab early the morning after surgery, work closely with an assigned coach and receive intensive education to maximize recovery.
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, visit or call (619) 472-7746.