Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kaiser breaks ground on $300 million medical and office facility in Vacaville

Article Last Updated: Monday, May 16, 2005 - 10:55:10 pm PDT

Kaiser breaks ground on medical facility

By Sarah Arnquist

VACAVILLE - Top Kaiser officials will break ground this morning on the three-year construction plan for a new $300 million hospital and medical office building in Vacaville.Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine said above all else, people care about two things: a safe community and access to quality health care. Kaiser's new hospital will benefit people in the whole area, he said."Folks not just from Vacaville but throughout the whole area are excited about not having to drive all the way down to Vallejo," Augustine said.

The nearest Kaiser hospitals are now in Vallejo and Sacramento. Kaiser believes a hospital in Vacaville will help reduce traffic volume on Interstate 80 and provide quality care to its 240,000 Napa and Solano County patients.Due to tremendous membership growth, Vacaville was the next logical place to expand between Vallejo and Sacramento, said Dr. Robert Pearl, executive director and chief executive officer of The Permanente Medical Group, which oversees all medical operations in Northern California.

"The growth in both Fairfield and Vacaville has been remarkable and the success of Kaiser Permanente in the area has been incredible," Pearl said.Kaiser has more construction plans Solano County than any area in Northern California. In addition to the new hospital and medical offices in Vacaville expected to be finished in 2009, Kaiser is building a replacement hospital for the current Vallejo Medical Center that should be completed in 2008. Kaiser also plans to expand it medical offices in Fairfield, though the details are not yet in place, Pearls said."We want to put our facilities as close to our members as possible and provide the highest quality of care," he said.

Plans for the 340,000 square-foot hospital include a 24-hour emergency department, labor and delivery services, radiology, surgery and oncology departments. The medical office building will house up to 60 specialty physicians, a new pharmacy and outpatient surgery center.More than 12,000 people work in the health care industry in Solano County, making it one of the county's largest employers, according to the Solano Economic Development Corp.

Kaiser expects to hire about 1,000 permanent workers to staff its new medical facilities in addition to the hundreds of trade workers needed for construction." Those are significantly high-paying jobs" that will benefit Vacaville, Augustine said.

Reach Sarah Arnquist at 427-6953 or sarnquist@dailyrepublic.net.

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