Modesto long-term care hospital to open in July

kcarlson@modbee.comJune 9, 2013 

DN Central Valley Specialty H

Debbie Noda/dnoda@modbee.com Central Valley Specialty Hospital at 17th and H Streets, (6-6-13) formerly Kindred Hospital.

DEBBIE NODA — The Modesto Bee Buy Photo

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textKen Carlson
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: County government, health and medicine, air quality, the environment and public pension systems
    Bio: Ken Carlson has worked 13 years for The Bee, covering local government agencies in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. His in-depth reporting has focused on access to health care and public employee pensions.
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    E-mail: kcarlson@modbee.com

— After delays in getting license approvals from the state, a 100-bed long-term-care hospital in downtown Modesto is expecting to open in mid-July, an executive said.

Central Valley Specialty Hospital hired employees and initially planned to admit patients to the 17th Street facility in April. But as often happens with health care facilities, it has taken time to meet the requirements of state regulators.

"Once they complete the survey, we will be able to open," Chief Executive Officer Gia Smith said last week.

The California Department of Public Health conducted a survey April 30 to May 2, finding the hospital did not meet all the license requirements. Smith said the hospital did not have a pharmacy license at that time, and the state has required the center to have a full-service lab.

The hospital at 17th and H Streets is inviting dignitaries and the public to an open house from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. The public is invited to tour the center.

Smith said the staff will provide acute rehabilitation services for patients who are transferred from acute-care hospitals and need therapy to recover from strokes, spinal cord injuries or disease. In addition, Central Valley will transition to skilled nursing beds and subacute care for patients on ventilators.

Smith said owners of the independent hospital have invested millions of dollars in facility upgrades and patient care technology. The three-story building previously housed Modesto City Hospital, which closed in 1990 and was followed by Central California Rehabilitation Hospital, Modesto Rehabilitation Hospital and Kindred Hospital.

The center sat vacant for three years after Kindred closed in February 2010.

The hospital opening is significant for health care in Stanislaus County because this level of care is offered at a limited number of facilities in the Central Valley and Bay Area. Many patients will need 15 hours of rehab therapy per week and 24-hour nursing care, Smith said.

She said 160 employees were hired to work at Central Valley Specialty Hospital. The managers and front-line staff are going through training. Dr. Vance Roget, who provided therapy for patients under a previous owner, will return as medical director.

The building has a long history as a care center. For many years, the privately owned City Hospital specialized in mothers and babies, and it's where Modesto native and future filmmaker George Lucas recovered from a near-fatal car crash in June 1962. A predecessor, St. Mary's Hospital, was the birthplace of Olympic swimming legend Mark Spitz on Feb. 10, 1950. Spitz lived in Modesto until just before his first birthday.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or (209) 578-2321.

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