Discover health care in the high desert with Victor Valley's excellent health network and what the region is doing to expand its medical offerings.
As the High Desert population grows, local health-care providers are expanding services and boosting technologies to provide patients with the highest level of medical and preventative health care. The Victor Valley’s three major health-care providers — Victor Valley Global Medical Center, Desert Valley Hospital and St. Joseph Health, St. Mary — offer a combined set of specialties that save residents from extended travel to San Bernardino or Orange County for major medical events. These hospitals are also working to improve the quality of life for residents through wellness programs and new urgent care facilities. Victor Valley Global Medical Center recently opened Global Urgent Care of Victorville to provide convenient care for non-life-threatening illnesses. “We identified areas here that are underserved in health-care access,” Victor Valley Global Medical Center CEO Suzanne Richards says. “We selected the Palmdale Road location to provide much-needed access to care when residents need it most.” St. Joseph Health, St. Mary plans to open two additional urgent care facilities. “Our community should have options and alternatives to the emergency room,” says Randy Bevilacqua, vice president of strategic services. “It’s less expensive and more convenient for non-emergency situations.”
Expanding Services, Facilities
From cardiac care to acute care, local hospitals continue to add to the vital services they offer to meet the needs of the growing patient population. Desert Valley Hospital, which opened a heart center in 2012, expanded its acute care services and built a helipad. “The helipad helps us and the community by allowing us to send patients to a higher-level facility, such as Pomona or UC Irvine, when needed,” Desert Valley Hospital CNO Patrick Reinhard says. “We can stabilize high-risk patients and get them to a place that can best care for them.” Victor Valley Global Medical Center plans to build out its Building No. 7 project that started in 1994, relocating its lab services to the building and expanding its post-anesthesia care unit. St. Joseph Health, St. Mary is in the midst of planning a medical center on 100 acres in Victorville. The expansion will help the facility develop its “population health model” with additional imaging facilities and preventive medicine services. “We plan to spend more time on keeping the community healthy,” Bevilacqua says. “We are building a network of care to increase access to education and to control chronic disease.”
Embracing New Technologies
Along with driving an increased emphasis on preventative care, the Affordable Care Act has led to numerous technological developments at hospitals, including electronic medical records implementation and IT infrastructure changes. To stay ahead of the curve, Victor Valley hospitals have implemented these and other new technologies as well. Desert Valley Hospital uses the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System for a variety of surgeries. As part of the Providence Health & Services system, St. Joseph Health, St. Mary has access to an array of new technology, and continually makes software upgrades and other improvements. The hospital plans to install the latest generation of MRI equipment in the near future. Victor Valley Global Medical Center is proud to be nearly 100 percent paperless. “We have 7.6 million records in the McKesson Paragon [hospital information] system, which interfaces easiest with our doctors,” Richards says. “Doctors can access records from anywhere, while remaining fully compliant with respect to patient access and HIPAA security standards.”
Though Victor Valley health-care facilities invest in new technology in accordance with budget, investment in quality of life comes first. Victor Valley Global Medical Center participates as a platinum sponsor in the March of Dimes walk, and in 2015, the hospital raised about $120,000 for the charity. “We believe that everyone should have a healthy baby,” Richards says, emphasizing the hospital’s highly regarded maternity, pediatric, and women’s health programs. The hospital also hosts an annual Health and Wellness Expo and a blood and bone marrow drive. St. Joseph Health, St. Mary spends on average $8.5 million annually on programs that directly benefit the community. In fiscal year 2015, it provided 297 students with health career education; provided more than 5,200 nutrition and obesity care sessions; and got more than 2,400 uninsured enrolled in health care. Desert Valley Hospital employees challenge each other to provide better and better quality care. The hospital hosts a skills fair for its employees and encourages staff to earn a degree. “People care about the work that they’re doing here,” Reinhard says. “Since Dr. Prem Reddy built this facility in 1994, we’ve had a reputation of taking care of one another.”