Health & Fitness

Company plans to buy Avalon Care Center for subacute patients, launch other services

Big plans for downtown Modesto specialty hospital

Gia Smith, chief executive officer of Central Valley Specialty Hospital in Modesto, talks about the owners buying Avalon Care Center, plus other endeavors. The owners, who recently created a company called American Specialty Healthcare is remodeli
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Gia Smith, chief executive officer of Central Valley Specialty Hospital in Modesto, talks about the owners buying Avalon Care Center, plus other endeavors. The owners, who recently created a company called American Specialty Healthcare is remodeli

The owners of Central Valley Specialty Hospital in downtown Modesto are buying the 70-bed Avalon Care Center and plan to convert the nursing home beds for patients who need a different level of care, a spokeswoman said.

The owners of Central Valley, a long-term acute care hospital at 17th and H streets, formed a company called American Specialty Healthcare in July and have ambitious plans for expanding services.

Avalon Health Care Group of Salt Lake City confirmed the potential buyers have applied to government agencies to take over the license for the Avalon nursing home at 515 E. Orangeburg Ave., but the application has not yet been approved.

“We continue to care for our patients at our facility,” said Mac Jones, region vice president of operations for Avalon.

If the license transfer is approved, Jones said, Avalon will come up with a plan for relocating its patients. The plan will comply with guidelines of the California Department of Public Health and “we will communicate that to the families,” Jones said.

Terms of the deal between American Specialty Healthcare and Avalon were not available. Avalon also owns Hy-Lond Convalescent Hospital in Modesto, which is not part of a deal with American.

Jones said the Avalon center had 21 patients as of Wednesday.

Gia Smith, chief executive officer of Central Valley, said the company will purchase the land behind the Avalon center for a 62-bed expansion, bringing the total number of beds to 132. The new addition will have private rooms.

The buyers will change the name from Avalon to Valley Subacute and Rehabilitation Center and make cosmetic improvements to the building. Smith said they hope to complete the transition in early December.

Valley Subacute will care for patients who are too ill for a nursing home or are dependent on ventilators, Smith said.

Few facilities in the region provide what’s known as subacute care. Patients needing that level of care often are transferred to facilities elsewhere, Smith said.

“Every day, we are sending these patients to San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles,” Smith said. “Our goal is to bring the care close to home.”

American Specialty Healthcare has some other irons in the fire.

It plans to launch Progressive Home Health and Hospice next year, bringing all levels of care under one umbrella, Smith said. The company is renovating a 3,400-square-foot building at 1619 H St. for running the home-based health and hospice service.

The company is remodeling the former Medical Arts Building, at 17th and G streets, for physicians’ offices and a corporate office. Dr. Gurpreet Singh, the driving force behind Central Valley Specialty Hospital, bought the building from Stanislaus County this year for a reported $1 million.

American Specialty also plans a training school for vocational nurses and medical assistants at the former Heald College in Salida, Smith said. The vocational school could open in the latter part of 2016.

Smith said the company is helping revitalize the area around 17th and H streets. Workers are applying stucco to the Medical Arts Building, so the colors blend with the Central Valley hospital next door.

Beside the renovation for the hospice service, American Baptist Homes of the West and Affordable Satellite Housing Associates are building a 50-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors, across 17th Street from the Medical Arts Building.

American Specialty Healthcare expects to employ 125 people at the Avalon center after the expansion and could have a total of 800 employees when its new local services are up and running, Smith said.

Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321

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