by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | August 13, 2021
Providence Southern California has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to construct a new hospital for approximately $1 billion in the High Desert region of San Bernardino County.
The hospital will be located in Victorville and will replace the existing Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, which has served the desert community for more than 65 years. The replacement is part of a long-planned modernization that includes seismic upgrades as part of a 2030 state mandate that the current facility is unable to meet.
"Together we look forward to sharing our evidence-based practices and protocols to continuously advance clinical excellence. We’re also excited for a state-of-the art building that will include the infrastructure to accommodate advancing medical and business technology," said Erik Wexler, president of operations and strategy – South for Providence, told HCB News.
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Set to be built in phases, the new campus will include outpatient services and incorporate Kaiser Permanente's integrated model of high-quality care, according to Wexler. The hospital will be built on acreage acquired in 2007 for a new St. Mary Medical Center campus. It will remain a Catholic-based provider and continue to abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare.
The project is expected to create new construction jobs in the High Desert. Providence, which is heading the establishment of the new hospital, will continue to arrange for the provision of all the health services for its patients and Providence St. Mary Chief Executive Rand Castillo will continue in his position. Providence will also continue to hold primary responsibility for operational oversight, with input from Kaiser Permanente welcomed.
The city of Victorville is the largest in the High Desert and also has a high poverty rate of 22.8%, compared to state and national averages. This includes vulnerable populations with health disparities.
“We sought a partner that shares our goals and our vision to increase access to care, especially in underserved communities,” said Castillo in a statement.
Providence will work with the community to determine the future of the existing Apple Valley site, which was deemed unfeasible financially or operationally to bring into compliance with the 2030 state mandate.
It and Kaiser Permanente are currently working with state and local officials to address concerns and obtain the necessary approvals for the hospital campus.
The new hospital is expected to open in 2026.