Sierra View expands into new dimension

For the first time Sierra View Medical District will serve outside of Porterville.

Strathmore is, however, within the district’s coverage area, and the community is currently without any type of healthcare facility.

Sierra View, through its operational funds, has purchased 2.4 acres to be the official home for its Rural Health Clinic at Highway 65 and Ave. 196, across the street from Strathmore High and across the highway from The Orange Works Café.

The idea of starting a rural clinic originated in a strategic planning session, “through outside the box thinking,” said Ron Wheaton, vice president of Physician Recruitment and Extended Services.

“We want to provide access to all patients,” he said.

The idea was continued through multiple subsequent meetings.

Clinic design plans were scheduled for perusal on January 2, with three different architectural concepts.

It is up to the leadership group to make a decision on just which option will fit the bill, Wheaton said.

Staff and the CFO are formulating the potential size of the clinic based on the needs of the area and the numbers of patients it could draw.

“There are many patients who don’t have a physician,” he said.

“We’ll take everybody,” regardless of their residential status, documentation, or their insurance.

The facility will be a primary care clinic, Wheaton said, with staff trained in family medicine, internal medicine, OB/GYN and pediatrics.

Sierra View President and CEO Donna Hefner grew up in the Strathmore area and said she has seen a lot growth in the community over the years.

While Strathmore is only 5-6 miles from Porterville and current Sierra View facilities, the rural clinic should make health care much more accessible for many.

“We’re moving more toward outpatient access and driving down the cost of healthcare,” Hefner said. “That is the goal of every hospital in the nation.”

“Every step of the process has met the approval of the [district’s] board of directors,” she added.

The original goal was to have the clinic finished by the end of 2018 – however, more realistically, the Strathmore Rural Clinic should be open for business in early 2019, she said. Once completed, the facility will have to meet licensing with the Department of Public Health.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Hefner said.

As an outside note, she remarked, “we have people who come in from far away and they all know about The Orange Works Café,” siting the clinic is across the highway from a landmark.

Sierra View’s 2017 in Review

Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) welcomed major additions in 2017, such as its Urgent Care facility and the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, which both received a successful survey from the Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accreditor for healthcare organizations, last September.

Sierra View was also designated as a 2017 Pioneers in Quality™ organization for its data contributions and focus on patient care by the Joint Commission.

“We have had an exciting year of growth at Sierra View Medical Center and we are honored to have received such awards as our Pioneers in Quality achievement, and even Large Business of the Year from the Porterville Chamber of Commerce,” CEO Hefner said. “The leadership of SVMC is committed to working with our medical staff collectively to provide high quality and safe patient care. We have focused on partnering with providers in our community to meet the needs of our patients.”

The addition of board-certified intensivist providers to oversee patient care in the ICU is another partnership SVMC leadership developed to improve overall quality in early 2017.

In December, SVMC received a one-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Five-Star Quality Rating System. From these results, leadership has designated areas of focus for 2018 and beyond to expand the quality of care and scope of service for Porterville and its surrounding areas, including the Strathmore Rural Clinic.

The CMS Rating considers seven groups of factors when generating a score to include Patient Experience, Readmission, Safety of Care, Mortality, Efficient Use of Medical Imaging, Timeliness of Care and Effectiveness of Care.

Although CMS has been scoring hospitals with this system since April, 2016, the organization recently changed the metrics and methodology, which resulted in a more broad distribution of ratings and Sierra View’s one-star designation.

Since the rating, SVMC implemented plans and team agreements which have generated improvement in areas of focus for 2018: Medical Imaging, patient experience, mortality and timeliness of care.

The data used to score Sierra View’s overall rating came from 2016 and earlier, and is not reflective of recent improvement efforts at the local hospital.

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