HCCA Offers Chance to View Tower One Construction

Healthcare Conglomerate Associates CEO Benny Benzeevi speaks to the  assembled press about the Tulare Regional Medical Center Tower One construction.
Healthcare Conglomerate Associates CEO Benny Benzeevi speaks to the assembled press about the Tulare Regional Medical Center Tower One construction.

Tulare Regional Medical Center officials offered a chance for local media to see the latest construction on the Tower One building early this week.

Healthcare Conglomerate Associates CEO Benny Benzeevi led the tour and spoke about each room, with construction, marketing, and public relations officials from the hospital in tow. The viewing, hosted on July 12, was open to media outlets from around the valley. Reporters from the Voice, the Visalia Times-Delta, and KTIP were present. TV networks and other publications were shown around later in the day.

Benzeevi used the tour to show the progress that HCCA, the company contracted to run and manage Tulare and the Tulare Local Healthcare District, the legal public entity that owns TRMC, have made on the tower building since HCCA began operating the hospital, and decried arguments made by some opponents of the upcoming Measure I bond proposition.

“All along, it was publicly known in every single document we ever found, including the official GO Bond documents, that we would need additional funds to complete this project,” Benzeevi said. “So, to me, this whole rigamarole that occurred in the past that, why did 85 million not finish the building, is baffling.”

“Was the $85 million spent wisely? I’m not in a position to say yes or no,” Benzeevi said. “In my opinion, I have my own personal opinion, but we have a building. Did we get $85m or $80m worth? We got a building. Now we’ve just got to finish it.”

He also spoke about other district hospitals which have closed or been purchased out by HCCA’s competitors and left without emergency services.

“Corcoran disappeared, Taft disappeared, Colusa Regional Medical Center disappeared,” Benzeevi said. “Adventist bought Colusa, shuttered the hosptial, shuttered the ER, drove off with the clinics. Adventist bought Corcoran — where’s the ER in Corcoran today?”

Fittingly, one of the highlights of the tour was the area which would, in the completed building, form an upgraded emergency department, with what HCCA bills as having four times the bed capacity, with two “screen rooms,” 20 “exam rooms,” four “major treatment rooms,” and “lightning speed service.”

Benzeevi also presented the vision that he has for HCCA’s Tulare Regional Medical Center, an “integrated healthcare system” that would have partnerships with other institutions that would allow TRMC to focus on immediate-need issues.

“We need to build an integrated healthcare system. We want to be the best with what is needed with our community and also have associations with large tertiary care university medical centers for the stuff they do well” Benzeevi said, “We’ll never compete against UCLA for brain surgery. There’s no point in even trying.”

Benzeevi said that patients are, depending on the condition, patients are sent out to various hospitals throughout the state, including Stanford, UCLA, UCSF, and UC Davis, and he said that HCCA is seeking to establish agreements with such hospitals that would give its patients “priority” among similarly-afflicted patients.

“Visalia offers nothing different than Tulare does. The actual essence of the care is exactly the same,” Benzeevi said, referring to a possible situation in which emergency crews would be faced with a choice of taking a patient to Tulare or Visalia. “We’re planning to get a trauma designation as well and really all that is, is more of an internal thing. The fact is, as far as services are concerned, we provide essentially the same services — certainly for trauma — as any of our area hospitals, even today.”

Benzeevi, throughout the tour, stressed importance of Measure I as being integral to the future of the hospital. A document distributed to the assembled media also called claims that the hospital would close without the passage of another bond “fiction,” stating that such claims are “not scare tactics, it is the reality.”

“I don’t want an entire community to suffer for generations because of the misdeeds of a few,” Benzeevi said. “It would seem a real karmic injustice.”

“Regardless of what happened before, we have to stay focused on getting the job done. Because if we don’t get the job done, it’s all done.”

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

9 thoughts on “HCCA Offers Chance to View Tower One Construction

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      • Don’t let his refusal stop you. We don’t need an autobiography on Benzeevi just some good old fashion background reporting. The information is out there you just have to do some digging. In fact I think the same should be done on each member that sits on the hospital’s Board of Directors as well.

  1. Ditto to the above comments!! Nothing more than a Kodak picture moment. My family needs EMS Transport we are going to KDDH for care. Doesn’t the HCCA CEO already live in Visalia? No on Measure I x6!!

  2. It’s my understanding that a Southern California University was interested in purchasing Tulare District Hospital. This did not work out obviously, and I think we all know why. My point is if a large University Hospital wanted to purchase this Hospital why did it not happen? This would have put Tulare District Hospital on the map as one of the best Trauma Centers in the Central Valley.

  3. I believe all the hospital he mention above “disappeared” since those communities where never strong. Yet the towns are still going. I also love the fact that no one for measure I mentions that actual deadline to state requirements in the year 2030. Plenty of time to come up with a new plan when this one fails. The document sent out fails to mention that as well.

  4. Why isn’t the general public offered a viewing of the facility? Allow them several windows of opportunity such as times, days, question and comment periods. After all isn’t the hospital seeking the property owners within the district to support the bond but denying them access/ Speak with the lawyers and get them to create a waiver form allowing visitation and cease all work during these periods. If it is deemed unsafe to walk around while under construction, then stop the work. It wont be the first time this has happened. This time voluntary and not through a lawsuit. Structure and limit questions and comments to current events within the guided tour. Simple as that.

  5. Hospital will not close.

    Old building can be used till 2030.

    Hospital owns several real estate around the town – why dont they sell those & raise money to complete new building.

    If hospital is making 2.9 million profit a year as Dr. Kumar claimed, they can easily raise 40-60 million from corporate bond market based on this income.

    Taft & Colusa closed because they were not making money. Corcoran closed because of Medicare fraud.

    Benzeevi is using scare tactics for his gain.

    Before we give a single dime to these people we need to know where the previous money went and that new money will not go into the pockets of HCCA

  6. Nobody wants to close the hospital. It is important that our community understands that there is a high cost to maintaining a 65-year old building while at the same time constructing a new building. This is simply not sustainable. In addition, our present hospital, and especially our ER department, cannot accommodate the five-fold increase in Tulare’s population that has occurred over the past 65 years, nor can we recruit much needed doctors to such an old, antiquated building. It is unfair to our community and especially unfair to those seeking emergency care. By the way, if you reside in the Tulare hospital district and would like to see firsthand the progress of the tower, please call 559.684.4503 to schedule an appointment.

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