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Kaiser Permanente expanding its practice

The medical group plans to locate specialists in Valencia and possibly open operating rooms here

Posted: April 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 3, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The former U.S. Borax building on Tourney Road in Valencia will require extensive renovation before it is suitable for use by Kaiser Permanente for its specialty care providers.

Kaiser Permanente first opened its doors to Santa Clarita residents in 1994. But in October 2012, the integrated managed care medical group purchased a second building in Valencia.

While plans are still in the very beginning stages, Kaiser is looking at locating 20 specialty care providers in the building, and possibly a couple of operating rooms, said Dennis Benton, executive director with Kaiser Permanente.
The group plans on having doctors representing 10 to 12 different specialty practices, he said.

“We’re currently putting together the business case for approval by the Board of Directors,” Benton said. “We expect to get that in next few months.”

Once approved, however, Kaiser is looking at a long construction period before it can open in the old Borax building on Tourney Road. It’s a four-story, 117,000-square-foot building but requires a lot of work. As a result, Benton doesn’t anticipate the practice opening before the end of 2015, he said.

“The building requires extensive remodeling,” he said. “It also has some mechanical issues – HVAC and electrical issues – before we can move into it.”

Currently, Kaiser Permanente has 40 doctors practicing in Santa Clarita and some 180 employees as support staff. With their latest facility purchase, Benton estimates that perhaps 20 more specialists and a support staff of 50 will be seeing patients locally.

The healthcare provider is looking at possibly building two operating room suites, Benton said.

The medical group chose to expand in Santa Clarita because it has grown to over 50,000 members locally, he said.
There is a very big presence of Kaiser members locally, and the medical group expects that number to grow significantly with health care reform, Benton said.

“Santa Clarita has a critical mass; it can support a number of different specialists in multiple disciplines – even the more esoteric specialists like neurology, where patient visits are quite uncommon,” he said. “They average about one visit per every 1,000 patients, so when you get up to 50,000 members, you can support that.”

Currently, Kaiser members have to travel down to the medical group’s Panorama City facility for most of the specialty services.

“We want to move our services closer to where residents live,” Benton said.




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