Monday, April 25, 2005

Health providers reveal construction plans for new investment in Solano County medical facilities

Article Published: Saturday, April 23, 2005

Providers reveal plans for investment in county health

By SARAH ROHRS, Times-Herald staff writer

FAIRFIELD - Solano County's three major health care providers will invest millions, and generate thousands of new jobs as they build more clinics, emergency rooms, hospitals and medical centers to meet the demands of a growing population.

Sutter Solano Medical Center, NorthBay Healthcare System, and Kaiser Permanente executives elaborated on plans Friday at a Solano Economic Development Corporation Member-Investor Breakfast.

The "Future of Healthcare in Solano County" presentation, sponsored by the Times-Herald and The Reporter, drew about 150 corporate, business and public leaders to Rancho Solano Clubhouse.

Solano's health care providers are also incorporating the latest in imaging, radiology and surgical services. Eventually, patients may be able to view medical records online. The largest private Solano County employer, Kaiser Permanente, has launched major new construction in Vallejo and Vacaville.

The $350 million Vallejo medical center, plus the $300 million Vacaville facility will generate between 300 to 1,000 construction jobs daily, said Deborah Romer, Kaiser senior vice president and area manager.

Some 1,000 new jobs could be generated at the two new facilities, she said. The Vallejo hospital tower is slated to open in mid-2008. The Vacaville hospital and medical center is scheduled to open in early 2009.

Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo, meanwhile, is building a new $24 million facility that will hold a cancer center plus medical offices occupied by Sutter Regional Medical Foundation. The 60,000-square foot facility should be completed in November, said Terry Glubka, Sutter Solano's chief executive officer.

Sutter Solano, an affiliate of the Sutter Health care system, began work on a new $5 million emergency department last summer, Glubka said. Emergency room visits are increasing dramatically, she added. In addition, a $9 million renovation of the imaging department should be complete in November, Glubka said.

Sutter Foundation, another Sutter Health system component, is also investing tens of millions to meet area health needs, said John Ray, foundation chief executive officer. It invested $4 million in charity care last year, he said.

The medical foundation recently opened a $35 million outpatient and medical office facility in Fairfield. The organization is pursing plans to replace a clinic in Fairfield, and is also exploring new facilities in Benicia, Vacaville and Rio Vista.

NorthBay Healthcare System is also expanding. Gary Passama, president and chief executive officer, said new projects will primarily meet Fairfield and Vacaville's growth demands. NorthBay services draw a smaller number of American Canyon and Hiddenbrooke residents, he said.

NorthBay has begun a $2.5 million expansion of its North Bay Medical Center hospital, a third primary care center in Fairfield, and a $10.8 million expansion of VacaValley Hospital's emergency department. It recently bought a 20-acre site in Green Valley for more facilities. Both NorthBay and Sutter Solano executives said the new facilities will generate more jobs, but they could not say how many.

-- E-mail Sarah Rohrs at or call 553-6832.

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