Community Medical Centers unveiled two major expansion plans Monday that will add a 180,000-square-foot pediatric building and increase bed space by one-third at the hospital’s main Fresno campus.
“Expanding the campus will increase health care access throughout our nine-county service area,” Community CEO Craig Wagoner said at a news conference. “It will also speed up wait times.”
The move comes as the local health industry’s major players are jostling to fill a huge San Joaquin Valley need: pediatric care.
The first phase at Community will be a five-story pediatric office building built at Fresno Street and McKenzie Avenue, just north of the hospital. It will primarily be used as office space, but one floor will be used for pediatric outpatient procedures. Community hopes to have it completed by late 2018.
Wagoner said the addition will ease the Valley’s critical need for more pediatric care. Community treats around 12,000 children’s cases each year. He would not say whether the addition would affect Community’s already strained relationship with Valley Children’s Hospital, which plans to expand its pediatric outpatient clinics throughout the Valley.
Community Medical Centers and Valley Children’s Hospital are in a head-to-head competition for the region’s youngest patients.
909The number of patient beds currently available at Community Regional Medical Center
The relationship between the two medical institutions became frayed in late 2014 when they squared off publicly over pediatric care. Valley Children’s then accused Community of building a pediatric specialty network in direct competition to its specialty group. Community denied it and accused Valley Children’s of an unwillingness to see patients in a contract dispute with Santé Community Physicians, a doctors group affiliated with Community Medical Centers.
Since then, Community has announced its partnership with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, and has added a pediatric surgeon and other pediatric specialists. It will complete its new pediatric intensive care unit in the fall.
Valley Children’s has aligned itself with Stanford University to develop a pediatric residency program and has expanded services in communities such as Bakersfield, Visalia and Merced. A Fowler clinic and a second Bakersfield location will open in 2018.
The second part of Community’s expansion will add more bed space to a hospital that is nearly always full, Wagoner said.
The next phase will turn an existing office space on the main campus near the Divisadero Street dead-end into another bed tower. The new structure would house 300-350 private rooms, bringing the total number of beds to around 1,200. The tower is still in the architectural planning phases, and there is no timetable for its completion.
Both expansions will cost around $600 million total. The funding will come from a variety of sources, Wagoner said, but he declined to go into further detail. At least another $400 million in additions are also on the planning table.