The Victor Valley’s network of hospitals and urgent care facilities gives the region a competitive advantage by offering businesses and their employees comprehensive and specialized care close to home. It proved to be a pivotal year in 2016 for St. Joseph Health. The health system’s St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley received the only California Children’s Services designation in the High Desert, partnering with Children’s Hospital of Orange County doctors to serve in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The medical center also opened the region’s only Obstetrics Emergency Department, becoming the only local hospital offering 24/7 access to a laborist. St. Mary High Desert Medical Group opened a second urgent care facility in Hesperia and another urgent care building is currently under construction on the St. Mary Medical Center campus.
“We also added a second community benefit resource clinic in Hesperia,” says Ryan Orr, director of communication and marketing for St. Joseph Health. “A new outpatient imaging center, St. Mary High Desert Imaging, should be open by the end of 2017, and new expansion plans for a hospital campus in Victorville will soon be unveiled.”
Orr says the expansions and partnerships are in keeping with the health system’s goal of addressing the chronic conditions that prevent residents from achieving optimal health and raising the overall health profile of the High Desert.
“We focus as much on preventative care and health education outside the hospital walls as it does on acute care inside. The hospital provides a plethora of support groups, educational programs and community partnerships that are really focused on changing the health habits of local families,” Orr says.
As the largest employer in the Victor Valley, Orr says, the health system also contributes to the region’s economic well being. The health system employs more than 1,600 people and commits to using local vendors whenever possible. The recent partnership between St. Joseph Health and Providence Health and Services is supported by the second largest Catholic health care system in the nation. That will ensure continued investment in the High Desert through new infrastructure and services to accommodate the area’s population growth, Orr says.
Community engagement is also a priority for Victor Valley Global Medical Center in Victorville. The medical center partners with leaders in each city it serves to gain insight into each community’s health care needs.
“We believe that a healthy community is more than just physical health," says Lovella Sullivan, vice president of marketing, business development and special programs for VVGMC. "We believe that a healthy community is balanced with physical health, mental health, safety, economic stability, and educational strength of our residents. We help with these factors in offering services locally to our community members to reduce lost productivity for our patients and their families who would have to take time off from work and travel many miles round trip to seek care.”
The medical center recently expanded its Interventional Radiology program, opened a new Labor and Delivery unit, Delivery Land, and opened the first of several planned urgent care centers. Global Urgent Care of Victorville increases access to care for those living in the west Victorville and Adelanto communities.
Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville has expanded its cardiac care program. The hospital’s Heart Center brings together cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists to give patients access to the latest treatments for heart and vascular disease. The Heart Center also features an open-heart surgery suite, a cardiac intensive care unit, two cardiac catheterization labs and a digital X-ray imaging system. Sullivan says growth at the region’s hospitals is not only good for the health of the industry, but also for the health of the community and the economy.
“Studies have shown that improved economic health — stable, well-paying, positive and impactful jobs — improve the overall health of an individual. As we move into more preventative measures in respects to illness prevention, we also impact the well-being and stability of our community’s health,” she says.