SAN JOSE: Valley Medical Center Could Be State’s Most Advanced Public Facility
With its "cutting-edge modern technology," San Jose's Valley Medical Center could "be the most advanced public hospital in the state when it opens its doors in October," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "It will be absolutely the most high-tech public hospital in the state," said Dr. David Kerns, CMO of the new $197 million center. Valley's renovation project, approved by Santa Clara County supervisors in 1994, will feature much-improved facilities, including "[s]pecially designed operating rooms that will accommodate heart surgery, trauma and neurosurgery," and an all-digital X-Ray system that will allow "doctors in different wings of the hospital to examine the same images simultaneously." The Chronicle notes that the rebuilding of Valley and six other Bay Area hospitals -- including the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, the San Mateo County Health Center in San Mateo, St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, Children's Hospital in Oakland, Highland Hospital in Oakland and Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro -- "is the long-awaited result of state legislation passed in 1988." SB 1732 "was a one-time offer by the state to help pay building costs for hospitals that treat large numbers of poor and uninsured patients"
It Makes Economic Sense
Robert Sillen, executive director of Santa Clara County's Health and Hospital System, defended the construction of a state-of-the-art facility against "grumbling by those who believe public medicine should limit itself to the bare necessities." He said, "Nobody comes right out and says we should have second-rate hospitals for indigent patients, but that's what it translates to. Yes, this is public medicine, but the private hospitals also take Medicare and Medi-Cal and get tax breaks from government. Is that socialized medicine?" Sillen added, "To me, this new hospital is an attempt to bring a modicum of justice and equality to the health care system" (Gaura, 7/6).