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Staying Healthy: New Kaiser medical complex advances Tri-Valley medical care

Provider's first 24-hour urgent care center in California among highlights of Dublin facility

Hundreds of people attended the grand opening of the Kaiser Medical Offices and Cancer Center complex last month in Dublin. (Photo by Julia Baum)

Kaiser Permanente members in the Tri-Valley don't have to drive as far for health care needs since Kaiser's Medical Offices and Cancer Center complex in Dublin opened its doors last month.

The medical facility just off Interstate 580 celebrated its grand opening with a May 13 ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by hundreds of Kaiser staff and public officials, following a May 11 open house that drew more than 5,000 visitors from all over the Tri-Valley.

"How incredible for Kaiser Permanente to have foresight that 12 years ago we bought this property, knowing that some day it would have businesses and communities living here," Janet Liang, president of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said in a speech at the grand-opening.

A plethora of services are now available for Kaiser patients at the brand-new, three-story, 220,000-square-foot facility at 3100 Dublin Blvd., including a pharmacy, cancer treatment, physical therapy, x-rays and lab tests, and Kaiser's first 24-hour urgent care center in the state.

The new Medical Offices and Cancer Center "supports the care Kaiser Permanente members receive from their primary care physician and is an addition to the existing Kaiser Permanente medical offices in Pleasanton, Livermore, and San Ramon," according to representatives for the organization. So residents can still "access the care they need, when and where it is most convenient to them," including the medical offices on Owens Drive near Stoneridge Shopping Center.

The Pleasanton Minor Injury Center is still open by appointment-only, but Kaiser closed the Livermore Minor Injury Center in November, making the new Dublin 24-Hour Urgent Care Center a valuable local option for medical care that's not a life-or-death emergency but still needs immediate attention.

The urgent care center treats illnesses and injuries, offers both scheduled and walk-in appointments, and has 30 beds for patients with problems that don't require a trip to the emergency room. Kaiser's closest emergency rooms are located at their Walnut Creek and Antioch hospitals.

Kaiser patients who call the advice line nurse, available 24 hours a day, will either be referred to the Dublin 24-Hour Urgent Care Center, or directed to the emergency room at a Kaiser hospital if their symptoms are serious enough. The advice nurse can also reach a doctor if more advice is needed. Walk-ins at the urgent care center are accepted 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Six operating rooms at the Dublin site are dedicated to ambulatory surgery, which are operations not requiring an overnight stay in the hospital with patients sent home that same day. Specialists in areas such as cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, neurology, obstetrics and orthopedics are also stationed at the new facility.

More than 140,000 Kaiser members from the Tri-Valley are expected to heavily use the multi-specialty hub, which also has 900 parking spaces and room to grow in the future.

"Our goal is that you never have to be in a hospital, that what you need here, from primary care to the highest specialty care and specialty treatment, and urgent care at the highest levels we haven't seen in this community," Liang said.

Many of the 500 staff members recruited from other Kaiser locations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to work at the new complex said they anticipate delivering a new unmatched level of patient care that's now made possible by the cutting-edge facility's centralized design. With multiple specialists at the same site, there's less room for error in communication and patients avoid wasting time driving to various locations for different appointments.

Enhancing convenience is especially helpful for patients undergoing treatment at the cancer care center, which offers radiation, chemotherapy, radiology hematology, medical and radiation oncology, imaging services, counseling, nutritionists and clinical trials.

The TrueBeam linear accelerator, an advanced radiotherapy system that meticulously targets tumors and destroys cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue unharmed, is the cancer center's crowning jewel, located in a room with concrete walls between three to seven feet thick known by staff as "The Bunker."

"We can treat actually within less than a millimeter precision of the tumor we are targeting," Yildirim Mutaf, chief of physics for Kaiser, said at the grand-opening. "This sub-millimeter precision is provided by a machine that weighs about 12,000 pounds."

The unit "doesn't look like a traditional CAT scanner" but pulls double duty by allowing staff to simultaneously image a patient and administer radiation.

"We can actually image the patient before we treat, identify why we are treating, pinpoint the tumor and basically produce the radiation that will be directed at that location with very high precision," Mutaf added. Only 12 of such machines are in California, and "four in this facility alone."

"We are very, very lucky and fortunate to be able to provide this to our patients in our service area," he said.

Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez and Councilwoman Jean Josey, San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson, Pleasanton Vice Mayor Karla Brown, Pleasanton Councilwoman Julie Testa, and representatives from Rep. Eric Swalwell and State Sen. Steve Glazer's offices were among the recognizable names at the grand-opening ceremony on May 13.

The high-profile event also featured a live musical performance by local "American Idol" contestant Lindsay Wall, an outdoor juice bar and catered lunch served beneath colorfully decorated canopies.

The Kaiser Permanente Dublin Medical Offices and Cancer Care Center complex is located in Dublin at 3100 Dublin Blvd. For more information about hours, services and more, visit kaiserpermanente.org.

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