Transforming a Public Health System, One Community Health Center at a Time

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Written By: Dr. Michael White, chief medical officer at Valleywise Health

Valleywise Health’s tradition of supporting the health needs of underserved communities continues with the recent opening of a state-of-the-art Valleywise Community Health Center – South Phoenix/Laveen.

By offering comprehensive, patient-centered, and preventative care, this new clinic, part of Valleywise Health’s network of 12 Community Health Centers, demonstrates why the state’s only public teaching hospital and safety net system of care is so important for better health, access to care and lower costs.

Laveen is a community with a rich history – and with its rapid growth came a need for quality health care options. The new 26,000-square-foot facility, located at 35th Ave. and Southern, provides primary and pediatric care, OB/GYN, radiology, pharmacy, and behavioral health services. Thanks to our physician partners at District Medical Group and medical residents from the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, the community will have access to convenient, high-quality care.

Like the rest of our Valley, Laveen is a diverse community and has varied needs. To meet those needs, our translation services and care management teams work hard to eliminate language barriers, assist with coordination, provide outpatient resources, and much more to fulfill our mission to provide exceptional care, without exception, every patient, every time.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Valleywise Health’s Community Health Centers have risen to the occasion by conducting clinic visits virtually through telehealth and providing testing resources.

The South Phoenix/Laveen facility, which opened August 17, represents a huge step forward in the transformation of Valleywise Health. In 2014, Maricopa County voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 480, providing $935 million to transform our public health system and expand to new communities like Laveen.

We also are preparing to open new facilities in the North Phoenix/Sunnyslope neighborhood in November, followed by our Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center – Peoria in January 2021. Much like Laveen, our North Phoenix location will have a similar footprint and services, while our Peoria location is an expansive 126,000-square-foot facility boasting service in primary care, cardiology, dialysis, ultrasound, and phlebotomy, as well as its own pharmacy.

Prop 480 funding is also allowing us to take a monumental stride to the future – we broke ground in February on our brand new Valleywise Health Medical Center at our main Roosevelt Campus. This new 673,000-square-foot, 10-story facility will replace the nearly 50-year-old hospital formerly known as Maricopa Medical Center. One of the most significant improvements will provide the renowned Arizona Burn Center – Valleywise Health with its own floor and separate entrance. We also will be making advancements to our Trauma Center, the only one in Maricopa County verified by the American College of Surgeons to serve pediatric and adult patients. The new hospital is scheduled to open in late 2023.

These facilities will help train the next generation of physicians in Arizona through our Creighton University partnership. Increasing training opportunities attracts learners that will likely stay in Arizona to practice and serve patients throughout our community. The faculty and the learning environment created provides more access to exceptional care to our most vulnerable populations. They will create new opportunities for members of the community to utilize educational programming to better care for themselves and their families. More than anything, they will care for those who have nowhere else to turn.

The importance of a public safety net health care system cannot be understated, especially during the tumultuous times we are currently experiencing. We are continually thankful for the foresight of voters, community leaders, our partners, and our Maricopa County Special Health Care District Board of Directors for their belief and support as we look to the future of care in our County.

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