Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Excitement grows with ground breaking for Kaiser Permanente hospital in eastern Vacaville 340,000-square-foot hospital in Vacaville

Article Launched: 05/18/2005 07:51:50 AM

Kaiser's prescription Ground breaks for expanded Vaca facilities

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Doctors don't typically embrace dirt-filled shovels.

But as excitement grows about the coming Kaiser Permanente hospital in eastern Vacaville, doctors, administrators, civic leaders and local builders all donned hard hats Tuesday morning to mark the ceremonial groundbreaking for construction on the expanded medical facilities.

The expansion, recently approved by the city, is set to be finished by early 2009.

A 340,000-square-foot hospital will be the centerpiece, augmented by a new medical office building to sit next to the existing medical offices off Vaca Valley Parkway.

Kaiser's Vacaville medical offices opened in 1996. The hospital phase has been in planning stages since then, and preparations sped up after the turn of the millennium.
Dr. Robert Pearl, the chief executive officer of the Permanente Medical Group, told Tuesday morning's crowd of more than 250 that while it would be difficult for the health-care provider's founders to envision the marvels of emerging medical technology, they understood what makes medicine work best for the patients.

"They understood that health care is not an industry - it is a cause," Pearl said.
Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine said the 1,000 new jobs the expansion will bring to the city in addition to other major developments in eastern Vacaville have helped make the last several years one of the best eras in the city's history.
"I just don't know if I can get the smile off my face," Augustine said. "Today is a great day for the city of Vacaville."

Deborah Romer, Kaiser's senior vice president and Napa-Solano area manager, said the health care provider serves a quarter-million local residents. Adding to the expanded service Kaiser Vacaville will provide, Romer said Vallejo's new hospital tower should be open by 2008.
Augustine said that the new hospital isn't just good news for Vacaville residents, but also for the people of Dixon, Winters and Fairfield.

Dr. Steven Stricker, Kaiser's physician-in-chief for the Napa-Solano area, said because the company takes care of its employees, there are eight applications for every opening, ensuring a top level of skill and competence for Kaiser's doctors.
"Over the next few years, I promise you will see the best physicians working here at the Vacaville Medical Center," Stricker said.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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