Griswold: Visalia hospital expands residency program

The Fresno BeeJune 14, 2014 

Kaweah Delta Medical Center's helipad.


— The medical residency program at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia is ready to expand after a successful first year.

Last year, six resident physicians were accepted into family medicine and six in emergency medicine.

Next month, six more doctors will join the three-year family medicine program, and six will join emergency medicine, also a three-year program.

Additionally, four resident physicians in psychiatry, a four-year program just getting started, have been accepted.

A five-year surgery residency is expected to begin next year.

They come from the United States and Latin America.

Medical residents bring a welcome vibe to the clinical setting, said Dr. James Paskert, the hospital's chief medical officer.

"They are eager and excited," he said. "They really do set a tone around the hospital."

It's also good for the community, because it's expected that up to half will choose to stay in the Central Valley, Paskert said.

HELIPAD: The helipad at Kaweah Delta -- also a year old -- is being used more than anticipated.

Opened June 3, 2013, the helipad registered 183 landings its first year.

Of those, 51 brought patients to the hospital and 132 transferred patients out of the area for a higher level of care.

Pete Atkins of Escondido, injured on a horse-packing trip in the Sierra Nevada near Inyo County, was one of the first to be transported, the hospital said.

After a guide rode to a ranger station and radioed for help, a SkyLife helicopter took him aboard and landed 26 minutes later at Kaweah Delta, the only trauma center between Fresno and Bakersfield.

WATER RUNOFF: The state Water Resources Control Board has awarded $1.56 million to Visalia to pave seven downtown parking lots with permeable concrete, allowing rainwater to percolate into the ground instead of running into Mill Creek.

The idea is to improve stormwater runoff into Mill Creek.

In addition to permeable concrete, bioswales -- contoured landscaping with native plants that guides runoff -- will be constructed at some parking lots.

The money comes from Proposition 84, the 2006 bond measure for water projects.

The city must put up 20%, or $391,700. A resolution to accept the money and approve the match is on the Visalia City Council agenda for Monday.

Assuming approval, design will start this year and construction is expected to take two years.

DINUBA: A new farmers market starts Friday in Dinuba and will take place weekly for six weeks.

For three years, the city has been hosting Summer Night Lights. a program to bring activities such as a live band, face painting, bounce house, tricycle racing and basketball hoop shooting to downtown for young people and families.

The city decided to add a farmers market to promote healthy living, said Stephanie Hurtado, recreation coordinator at the city. Four local organic certified farmers -- two from Parlier, one from Kingsburg and one from Dinuba -- said they'd participate.

It takes place at 298 S. L St. from 7-9:30 p.m. The July 4 farmers market will be held the day before.

WIC cards and senior coupons are accepted.

Lewis Griswold covers the news of Tulare and Kings counties for The Bee. His column runs Sunday. He can be reached at (559) 441-6104, or @fb_LewGriswold on Twitter.

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