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    Community support leads to agreement to maintain OB services at Santa Paula Hospital

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    VENTURA, Calif. – At a meeting initiated by the Santa Clara River Valley Community on Friday, Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers, Health Care Agency Director Bill Foley, and CEO for VCMC/SPH, John Fankhauser, MD agreed to resume OB services at Santa Valley Hospital, on August 1, 2019.

    The meeting was organized by Laura Espinosa, of Santa Clara Valley Together and community leaders from Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru; and Supervisor Kelly Long and representatives from the health care community to draft a plan to keep these vital services where they are most needed by the community.

    The planned suspension of this program, largely due to a significant decline in the number of deliveries at the facility in recent years clearly rallied the community to action.  “I am very pleased with the overwhelming support of the community and the commitment from Clinicas, one of our community’s key healthcare providers to support the hospital, and deliver babies at our facility,” said Powers. 

    “This Santa Clara Valley coalition of community leaders in collaboration with local providers, the Ventura County Healthcare Agency and Supervisor Long are launching a Blue-Ribbon Healthcare Advisory Committee to work with the community to develop recommendations for the hospital that will meet the long-term needs of the community.  We clearly need to do a better job of listening to our stakeholders. I believe that together we can make this happen,” Said Powers.

    Laura Espinosa of Latino Town Hall, and the initiator of the community effort, was “…very proud of how the communities in the Valley came together and devised a plan of action that was a win-win. I am very pleased that the county officials recognized how committed we were to keeping this program operating at Santa Paula Hospital and its importance to a growing community of women and families.”

    The planned suspension of this program received a great deal of attention during county budget deliberations in the last month.  This brought about an immediate response from the three major communities impacted in the Santa Clara Valley to rescind the suspension. Their effort culminated in a meeting last Friday in Santa Paula where they announced they had secured a commitment from Clinicas to provide ten monthly deliveries at Santa Paula Hospital. County officials recognized that this proposal along with other actions they will be pursuing in July to generate more revenues around deliveries, would allow them to rescind the suspension and begin service again in August 2019.

    Bill Foley stated, “I greatly appreciate the effort that has been generated by local leaders in the valley and the opportunity to create a positive and mutually constructive dialogue and relationship with the communities in this region. We are committed to strengthening the operations at Santa Paula Hospital and ensuring that it will get better in serving the growing population in the valley.”

    Without the increase in monthly deliveries provided by Clinicas, it would have been difficult to re-establish the OB program at Santa Paula Hospital before the end of December.

    Roberto Juarez was “very impressed with the tenacity and leadership demonstrated by women in Santa Paula and the valley to maintain services that they deem a priority for their communities. Clinicas started in Santa Paula and we are very pleased to have come together with all of the key parties to make this happen. I hope this will be the approach we take going forward, of bringing local communities and the providers in the area together to create new delivery of health care systems that will benefit all in the most cost-efficient manner.”

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