MODESTO -- A group of investors has purchased a building in downtown Modesto and plans to open Central Valley Specialty Hospital in April.
Gia Smith, hired as chief executive officer, said the facility will fill a need for long-term acute care and nursing care for patients on ventilators. The hospital will have 36 long-term acute- care beds and 64 beds for skilled nursing and subacute patients.
Smith said about 150 employees will be hired in the next 10 months; two job fairs are planned in February.
The investors, from Sacramento, are renovating the former Modesto City Hospital at 17th and H streets. City Hospital was converted to a rehabilitation and long-term-care facility after closing in 1990. A number of health care firms used the facility to care for patients who had suffered strokes or disabling injuries or illness.
The last was Kindred Hospital, which closed its doors in 2010 after efforts to sell the facility were unsuccessful. Kindred was the focus of investigations into the death of a 44-year-old paraplegic man who became trapped under his bed rails, and for violations such as not having systems to prevent medication errors.
Kindred lost its approval as a Medicare provider and became unprofitable. More than 125 employees lost their jobs when it closed.
Smith stressed that the new hospital has no connection to Kindred. "We are going to give quality care and make sure patient safety is No. 1," she said.
Central Valley plans open houses to show off its state-of-the-art equipment and will educate the public about long-term acute care, Smith said.
The hospital could offer jobs to nurses, respiratory therapists and other health workers who recently lost their positions at other hospitals. Memorial Medical Center of Modesto laid off 114 employees in January, and Turlock's Emanuel Medical Center cut 24 positions Nov. 1.
Smith said she has worked for 15 years in long-term care and was hired after starting three similar facilities on the East Coast. She has a master's degree in nursing and is working on a doctorate.
Because of a shortage of this type of facilities, patients are held in area hospitals until they can be transferred outside Stanislaus County to care units 60 to 90 miles away.
"They have patients waiting to be discharged," Smith said. "There are no hospitals in the (county) that can give higher acuity care to these patients."
Central Valley Specialty Hospital will hold job fairs Feb. 13 from 2 to 8 p.m. and Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 14th floor, Ninth and K streets, Modesto. Participants should bring résumés. Applicants can e-mail résumés to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2321.