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Hospital care, Part 3: One-stop health care attracts locals

Kaiser Permanente operates about 70,000 square feet of medical office space in the SCV

Posted: January 4, 2009 9:34 p.m.
Updated: January 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The main Kaiser Permanente medical offices are located on Tourney Road in Valencia. Officials opened a second office in Canyon Country earlier in the year. The number of Kaiser members in the Santa Clarita Valley is an estimated 47,000.

Editor's note: Third in a series on SCV residents' regional hospital options. Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4.

Kaiser Permanente's "one-stop shop" of health care services attracts 47,000 Santa Clarita Valley members, or about 25 percent of the valley's population, many of whom take advantage of the recently opened health care center in Canyon Country.

"We've been growing there at a moderate pace," said Dennis Benton, Kaiser Permanente executive director.

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital officials said it can only serve half of Santa Clarita Valley's rapidly growing population, even after the proposed expansion is complete, leaving thousands going to nearby hospitals like Kaiser for health care.

Benton attributes Kaiser's style of health coverage for its growing membership.

"We like to think that our quality and our service is what's attracting people to Kaiser," he said.

Unlike other insurance programs, Kaiser members enter a group in their region, like the Southern California Permanente Group for local members.

As members, patients have access to Kaiser physicians, hospitals and services that share patient information, creating an efficient and consolidated way to deliver health care.

"We are much more of a one-stop shop," Benton said.

"Our integrated delivery system allows us to care for our members in the most appropriate clinical setting, coordinate their care between primary and specialty care and bring together all of their medical information, including laboratory, pharmacy and radiological data into a single medical record," Benton said.

"Our integration is a competitive advantage that has allowed us to become the leader in quality today."

Kaiser operates about 70,000 square feet of medical office space in the SCV that provides primary, specialty and ancillary care services since 1994. About 30 physicians and 130 employees work at the Santa Clarita offices.

"A good portion live in Santa Clarita," Benton said.

The main medical office is located on Tourney Road in Valencia. Kaiser officials opened a second office on Carl Boyer Drive in Canyon Country in May 2008 as demand for Kaiser services increased here, Benton said.

Officials plan to open a larger pharmacy at the Valencia office.

For local members, the nearest Kaiser hospital is nearly 20 miles south in Panorama City, home to a new 218-bed hospital that opened in March.

Along with taking care of Kaiser's local members, the 260 physicians and 2,100 employees at Panorama City Medical Center provide health care services to a total of 265,000 members.

Statewide, the nonprofit organization serves more than 6.1 million people including 3.3 million in Southern California.

Benton said Kaiser members are advised to go to their closest hospital in case of an emergency and the Valencia office offers urgent care services.

With a growing membership in the SCV, Kaiser continues to move more specialty services like allergy care, dermatology and pain management here.


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