http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/12/07/holiday-fund-will-help-pay-for-added-services-technology-at-valleycare


Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 7, 2012

Holiday Fund will help pay for added services, technology at ValleyCare

Contributions to go toward new mammogram machine, Palliative Care Program

by Jeb Bing

ValleyCare Health System (VCHS) has again been named a beneficiary of funds contributed to the Pleasanton Weekly's 2012 Holiday Fund.

Over the years, the fund has contributed more than $100,000 to the local health system with donations used to support its ValleyCare Health Library and Ryan Comer Resource Center in Pleasanton and the expansion program of its emergency room operation.

This year, the funds will be used to help pay for a new mammogram machine, new beds for the ICU, and to fund a Nurse Navigator to run the Palliative Care Program.

"This is a fantastic program that is designed to help a patient and family deal with very serious and often incurable diseases, and how to handle everything related to that, including family support, medical decisions, social services, long term care and more," said Shelley Despotakis, manager of the ValleyCare Charitable Foundation.

ValleyCare's roots go back to the 1950s when the 18-bed St. Paul's Hospital proved too small for the fast-growing Livermore/Pleasanton communities. Local residents, weary of traveling to Oakland or Hayward for health care, banded together and raised enough money, along with state funds, to build Valley Memorial Hospital in Livermore in 1961. The 46-bed facility was built on land donated by Kaiser Paving, with a third floor added in 1969, raising the total to 110 beds.

Needing more room in a building that would meet California's increasingly strict earthquake protection requirements, ValleyCare purchased a 23-acre parcel at Santa Rita Road and West Las Positas Boulevard in Pleasanton and, in 1991, opened its new ValleyCare Medical Center.

Today, with a two-campus health system and 242 beds, a medical staff of 400 and numerous hospital and outpatient services, ValleyCare is still the unique, fiercely independent health care facility in the Bay Area that is locally controlled just as its founders envisioned more than a half-century ago.

Its board of directors includes ValleyCare doctors and members chosen from the community, including its current chairman, Marty Inderbitzen, a well-known Pleasanton lawyer who specializes in real estate transactions and land use entitlements. Board members include residents of Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, the hospital's primary marketing and service area.

"All of us in the Tri-Valley need to understand and appreciate the value of having an independent, nonprofit hospital in our communities," said Deborah Acosta McKeehan, former city manager of Pleasanton who has been on the ValleyCare board for six years, serving as its chair for the past two terms.

"We can get excellent medical care right here where we live without having to drive to Walnut Creek or beyond," she added. "In addition to having convenient medical care and services, ValleyCare also provides more than $14 million in charity care. So it's a local asset that not only serves all of us, it also gives back to the communities it serves."

Inderbitzen agreed.

"While not everyone in our area will be a patient at ValleyCare, everyone in our community is a beneficiary," he said. "To that end, we also rely upon our community members to support ValleyCare both financially through the ValleyCare Charitable Foundation and by utilizing our services."

"In doing so, you help ensure that ValleyCare will be here to serve the needs of the community for the next 50 years," he added.

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