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Clovis Hospital Expansion Is About One Thing: Better Healthcare for All

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After 35 days on a ventilator battling COVID-19, Karen Parker-Bryant exits Clovis Community Medical Center on May 19, 2020. (CCMC)
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The City of Clovis has spent the better part of three decades working with healthcare providers to improve healthcare facilities and accessibility for our residents and for those of our region.

Drew Bessinger

Opinion

The Clovis Community Medical Center has morphed from its humble Dewitt Avenue campus to a modern medical facility at Herndon and Temperance avenues.  That facility has increased substantially over the last 20-plus years, with new bed wings, increased ER facilities, and a separate cancer center. With quick access at Highway 168 and Temperance Avenue, anyone in our region needing healthcare can come to Clovis.

In recent years, CCMC has been joined by facilities from United Health Care, St. Agnes, Kaiser, Valley Children’s, and several other clinics and medical offices. A new VA Clinic is also slated at Armstrong and Herndon avenues.

Our combined vision of creating a regional medical destination in Clovis has become, and will increasingly become, a reality. Valley residents, regardless of who they are or where they come from, have increased healthcare choices. This is a very good thing for everyone involved.

Ease of Building on Open Ground Saves Money

There has been criticism about the focus on Clovis versus improving existing facilities in Fresno. While I was not involved in those decisions, there needs to be a common sense factor here: It is much easier to build facilities on open ground than to retrofit existing hospital facilities. It is cheaper to build parking on open land than it is to build parking structures. Also, retrofitting an existing operating facility would actually disrupt the healthcare continuum by closing off existing space used for care during the retrofit. Retrofitting existing structures is more expensive and the money saved can be used for better and more healthcare services.

This should not be made into a rich versus poor thing — all of these facilities are available to everyone. If you’re seeking medical care at a local hospital, all of our local hospitals are a 10-minute drive from the Highway 99 and Highway 41 interchange.  If you’re coming by ambulance, you can state your choice of hospital. Healthcare options for residents in the foothills, eastern Fresno, and Madera counties, and cities like Sanger, Selma, Orange Cove, and Reedley are greatly improved.

Valley residents, regardless of who they are or where they come from, have increased healthcare choices. This is a very good thing for everyone involved.

Nor should this be a Fresno versus Clovis thing: everyone benefits here regardless of where you live.  Absolutely no one is disenfranchised or excluded, they are included. Clovis does not get property tax money on these hospital improvements.  Admittedly, this is still a great thing for the City of Clovis and its residents. They not only get greater healthcare and employment options, but also the tax revenues on the associated commercial and residential growth.

Nor should this become political or tabloid fodder. We should all applaud those with the vision and determination to create modern healthcare options accessible for the entire Fresno region. It’s easy, and unfortunate, that criticism has been placed upon something that clearly benefits every single person in our region.  Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth here.

About the Author

Drew Bessinger is a member of the Clovis City Council.

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