Southwest Healthcare expands facilities/services in Murrieta & Wildomar

In a major step forward for our hospitals and our community, Universal Health Services recently announced the opening of  greatly expanded Southwest Healthcare facilities at both Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta and Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar. Long-time readers may recall my rants from early last year wherein the hospitals appeared to be locked in a life-or-death (for residents of our community) struggle to open new emergency rooms and other much needed facilities that had been built, outfitted and staffed for over a year.

I’m not going to dredge up all that unpleasant history at this point other than to say significant changes were made at the hospitals while other changes were taking place at the state agency. Finally last month the state gave the go-ahead to open these  facilities at first on a partial basis, followed quickly by a full opening. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of 5 new members named to the Board of Governors for the two facilities, though I take no responsibility whatsoever for the progress made).

New CEO Ken Rivers initiated a sea change of atitude by instilling the concept that each patient is not just a patient but a family member. Treat each person you meet as if it’s your own parent, sister or child. Together with some tweaks to procedural issues raised by state and federal regulators, the level of care is reaching new heights.

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The move at Rancho Springs opened up a $50 million expansion which saw emergency beds go from 8 bays separated by curtains to 30 fully private bays with not only state-of-the-art medical and trauma gear but flat screen TV’s in every room and family comfort stations.

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Equally important for the community is the entire 2nd floor dedicated to womens services, pre-natal care and a host of other services. These include spacious suites for Moms that have individual sleep-chairs for Dads, infant warmer beds and specially designed facilities to accomodate all services within the same room – including C sections and other procedures. No more wheeling the patient around here and there, most everything can be done within the comfort of her private suite.

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One opening that has been delayed is the dual bay neonatal intensive care unit with surgical centers. Originally staffed and trained, the two year wait to open meant that staff was moved to other areas and now must be re-trained so this much needed opening has been delayed for a few more months.

In addition to being a regional trauma care center, Inland Valley Medical Center also added to their own ER center as well as a much needed cardio-vascular care center. Intensive Care Units were also expanded at both facilities and new technological advances were incorporated into both the new facilities and the existing buildings, an ongoing process.

One more very cool thing – you can visit the nursery anytime to see the newborns. Check out theses little bundles and their happy Mom’s. Friends and relatives from across the country and around the world can log on and see how Mom & baby are doing. Grandma in Topeka can go in and see when Casey T. was born, how big she was and view several snapshots of the nipper.

More beds, more space, more technology and more caring – means a better healthcare experience for all our patients. After all, we know you really don’t want to be here and would just as soon be on your way as quickly and easily as possible.

It’s not just about healthcare, it’s about people care. I like being part of that.

4/20 Press Release: Avoiding a Local Healthcare Crisis

CITY OF TEMECULA

PRESS RELEASE

DATE: April 20, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

City Contact: Mayor Jeff Comerchero

(951) 506-5100

Avoiding a Local Healthcare Crisis

Yesterday the California State Department of Public Health issued a letter to Southwest Healthcare advising that they are “initiating the process of revoking their license.”  This letter comes on the heels of the Federal government terminating Southwest’s Medicare reimbursements starting June 1.  Clearly this situation is critical for all of us.

Last night the Mayors of the cities in our region participated in an emergency conference call coordinated by Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries.  It also included Supervisor Jeff Stone, County Health officials and the State of California Deputy Director of Public Health, Kathleen Billingsley.  During this call we learned several things about the process, the most important of which was that no local hospitals will be closing in the near future.

The State license revocation process can take up to 24 months.  Although the Federal CMS decertification (Medicare payment reimbursement) is scheduled to take effect on June 1st, we were advised that if the Federal government’s discussions with Southwest Healthcare are progressing in a positive direction, that date can be extended.

The State Deputy Director of Public Health told us that the door is open for the discussions that must take place in order to correct the problems that have been identified at both the State and Federal level.  Resolving the issues will put our two area hospitals back on track to do what they are intended to do; namely to treat illness and disease and give our residents a level of confidence that they will be well taken care of should they require emergency care, life saving surgery, and/or a prolonged hospital stay.

The fate of healthcare in our region is almost entirely in the hands of Southwest Healthcare.  If it is their desire to remain open and continue to provide their full array of services, and they have told us it is, then it is incumbent upon them to demonstrate that they see the gravity of the situation.  Doing so means that they are ready to do whatever it takes, including committing the necessary resources, to cure the problems that have caused both the State and Federal governments to take these extremely serious actions.

The City of Temecula will accept nothing less than the best level of healthcare for our residents.  We will do everything possible within our power and authority to ensure that that is the case.  We demand that all parties put their past issues aside and make sure that their number one priority is the health and welfare of the citizens of Temecula and the other cities of Southwest Riverside County.  As things develop we will keep you informed.  It is our goal to ensure that you know what we know during every step of what promises to be a long process.