Modesto-Area Health Officials Consider Building Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Health care officials in the Northern San Joaquin Valley are considering the possibility of building a pediatric intensive care unit to serve the area's growing population, the Modesto Bee reports. Dr. Ana DeVilliers, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, said that the area should begin planning such a specialized facility because demand for pediatric intensive care services will increase as the local population continues to grow. In 2000, the combined population for Stanislaus, Merced and surrounding counties was 770,000, and that number is expected to grow to more than 1.1 million by 2010, according to the Census Bureau. DeVilliers said that having a pediatric ICU in the Northern San Joaquin Valley would be "more convenient for families, for the patient, and in certain circumstances time counts." A study commissioned 10 years ago by Memorial Medical Center found that to support such a specialized facility, the population would need to grow to more than one million people and serve an average of eight pediatric ICU patients per day in Northern San Joaquin Valley, according to Steve Mitchell, Memorial's chief operating officer. Steve Jacobs, a pediatrician and spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente, said it still is "unlikely" that area hospitals would get the patient volume necessary to support a pediatric ICU. A 200-bed Kaiser Permanente hospital set to open in 2007 in Modesto will not include a pediatric ICU (McKinnon, Modesto Bee, 2/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.