Valley Children’s Hospital to build a larger specialty care clinic at corner of Caldwell and Hwy. 99
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – It’s official. Valley Children’s is expanding in Visalia.
Zara Arboleda, public relations manager for Valley Children’s, confirmed last week that Valley Children’s Healthcare is in escrow on a property off Highway 99 just south of the city limits. The 6.25-acre property is located south of Avenue 280 (Caldwell Avenue) and east of Highway 99 and is slated for a specialty care center similar to the one on Akers Road in Visalia.
Last year, the Akers Specialty Care Center had more than 4,100 patient visits, nearly three times as many as 2016, although the center opened midway through that year.
“This will be a specialty care center and not a primary care facility,” Arboleda said. “We are seeing high volumes in Visalia so there is an obvious need.”
The current center at 220 N. Akers, Suite A in Visalia is one of five specialty care centers operated by Valley Children’s with the others located in Bakersfield, Modesto, Merced and Fresno. Arboleda said the location on Highway 99 is strategically located to meet the needs of both Tulare County and southern Kings County. Arboleda said Valley Children’s will be opening two larger centers in Modesto and Bakersfield, between 50,000 and 60,000 square feet, and another center in Fowler, Calif. to better meet the 30 minute goal. The Bakersfield Specialty Care Center is scheduled to open on Oct. 1, 2018 while the Modesto facility is slated for early 2019. Valley Children’s Hospital and its outpatient clinics saw 17,853 patients from Tulare County for a total of nearly 45,000 patient visits, a 13% increase over 2016.
“Our primary focus for the last five years has been on ensuring the kids and families we serve have access to healthcare as close to home as possible. Across our 12-county service area, we are developing primary and specialty services to meet our goal of being within 30 minutes of families needing access to pediatric services,” said Todd Suntrapak, President and CEO, Valley Children’s Healthcare. “Tulare County has been a key region in our expansion plans, and this new location will make that goal of increased access for kids a reality.”
The Akers Specialty Care Center currently offers seven pediatric specialties (Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Endocrinology, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Nephrology, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Otolaryngology, and Pediatric Plastic Surgery) and one prenatal specialty (Maternal Fetal Medicine). The opening of the center was the first step in Valley Children’s increasing its presence in Visalia and Tulare County. A little more than a year ago, Kaweah Delta’s Board of Directors finalized an exclusive contract with Valley Children’s to provide medical staffing in the Visalia hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The “closed contract” means that only Valley Children’s doctors work in the specialized unit of the hospital and that Kaweah Delta could expand its capabilities to treat more acute child cases without having to transport patients to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, Calif.
Valley Children’s has become more involved in other Tulare County-specific programs such as the Tulare County Diabetes Workgroup and Tulare County Mobilizing for Action through Partnerships and Programs Committee, according to its annual report. In all, Valley Children’s had 12,372 inpatient cases, 120,016 Emergency Department visits, and a combined 254,059 outpatient center, regional specialty care center and day surgery visits in 2017.
Last summer, U.S. News & World Report ranked Valley Children’s Hospital as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country in several pediatric specialties in the its 2017-2018 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Valley Children’s ranked in Pediatric Orthopedics, Pediatric Diabetes & Endocrinology and Pediatric Gastroenterology & Gastrointestinal Surgery.
For more information on Valley Children’s ranked programs, visit valleychildrens.org/USNews.