New Central Valley Specialty Hospital is taking patients

Referrals pouring in for specialized care

kcarlson@modbee.comJuly 24, 2013 

Central Valley Specialty Hospital is admitting patients to the downtown Modesto facility after state health officials gave approval last week, its leader said.

The first patient was admitted to the 100-bed hospital Friday afternoon, and nine patients were receiving care as of Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Gia Smith said.

"We are getting referrals from area hospitals," Smith said. "All 100 beds are open."

The three-story building, at 17th and H streets, was closed in early 2010 after Kindred Hospital Modesto could no longer serve Medicare patients and couldn't find a buyer for the building. Kindred, part of a nationwide chain, was cited for a number of regulatory violations in 2007, resulting in the federal government cutting off Medicare payments in May 2008.

Central Valley, an independent start-up, provides the same type of care: long-term acute, rehabilitation and skilled nursing.

It had planned to open in April after millions were spent refurbishing the facility, but the opening was delayed until the hospital met state requirements. The hospital needed a pharmacy license, and a full-service lab was required by the California Department of Public Health.

Rita Winters, 74, of Keyes was the first patient admitted Friday. She was hospitalized Christmas Eve for a severe lung condition and had spent the last seven months in care facilities in Folsom, Sacramento and Stockton.

"They can get her well here because they have the facilities," said Fred Winters, her husband. "She is now eight miles from home."

Central Valley is licensed to care for patients needing long-term acute care or rehabilitative therapy to recover from strokes, the severe effects of chronic illness or injuries. It has a 36-bed long-term acute care unit and 64 skilled nursing beds, along with a center for physical and occupational therapy.

Smith said she expects the acute floor will be full by mid-August because of the high demand for that level of care in the Central Valley. The hospital has received referrals from Memorial Medical Center and Doctors Medical Center, both of Modesto, Emanuel Medical Center of Turlock and Dameron Hospital of Stockton, Smith said.

The hospital accepts patients with Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurance coverage, Smith said.

Central Valley has 194 employees, most of whom are rotating through to work shifts during the first weeks of operation, the CEO said.

The facility hired a number of workers laid off by Memorial early this year and provided job opportunities for nursing graduates from Modesto Junior College.

Central Valley Specialty Hospital is located at 730 17th St. For more information, call (209) 248-7700.

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

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