San Jose Mercury News
Valley Med centers on care of women, kids
By Carol Rosen, Correspondent
Changes are in the air at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center with nearly completed construction of a new hospital building and plans for the renovation of its 1999 hospital building into a women and children's center, a first for San Jose.
The new center, set to open in 2016, will provide about 175 beds strictly for women and children's in-patient service care. These include labor and delivery, the mother and infant care center, neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, general pediatrics and some outpatient services such as more intensive pediatric tests including MRIs.
Regular outpatient clinic services for women and children will remain at the current location.
Approximately 5,000 babies are born annually at Valley Med. However, its services for new mothers and babies are scattered among clinics and other hospital facilities. Many of the area's insured patients, who could bring added revenue to the hospital, end up frustrated with and go elsewhere for care, a practice Valley Med wants to end with the new center.
"The new center will allow a better integration of programs and services to better serve our current and future patients," says Joy Alexiou, public information officer.
But beyond that the new center will be a place for the whole family to enjoy and use.
"It's a new way of thinking about hospitals. No longer a dull and fearful place, the new center will feature play areas, artwork, interactive and educational exhibits for patients and their family members to enjoy," says Chris Wilder, executive director of the Valley Medical Foundation. Such places enhance healing the healing process, he adds.
He noted studies that show patients are more relaxed and comfortable in warmer, more inviting surroundings. There will be outdoor access to play areas for siblings and patients, including a rooftop pediatric therapy playground.
At the same time the new clinic saves the county about $725 million, because it doesn't have the $750 million necessary to build a new building.
Refurbishing and upgrading the older building will cost about $15 million, while an additional $10 million will go into an endowment to maintain the new building. The hospital's operating budget will pay for capital and technology requirements, while the foundation is working to raise $25 through private entities to pay for the art and interactive services.
Private funding began with $5.75 million contributed from the Sharks Foundation, SAP, the Rademakers Family and First 5 Santa Clara County. The latter's $4 million contribution will go to labor and delivery and the neonatal intensive care unit. SAP and the Sharks Foundation contributed $750,000 designated for the pediatric unit. An additional $1 million comes from John and Ann Rademakers.