Kaweah Delta taps into arterial highway

The Sun-Gazette

Kaweah Delta will join Valley Children’s as medical tenants of the Sequoia Gateway project on Hwy 99 and Caldwell Avenue

VISALIA – Kaweah Delta continues to position itself as a regional hospital, especially after announcing it will be purchasing land on Highway 99, the region’s arterial highway.

On Dec. 14, Kaweah Delta announced that it will purchase land in the Sequoia Gateway Commerce Center, a 126-acre development at the southeast corner of Highway 99 and Avenue 280 (Caldwell Avenue).

“While this is a hard time for people to see beyond COVID-19, this is a step toward a brighter future for patient care and improving access to medical care for so many in our community,” Kaweah Delta CEO Gary Herbst said. “This is a very visible and easy to access location that we know will be convenient for patients and improve their experience.”

Valley Children’s Hospital, Kaweah Delta’s long-term partner in providing care to children in its Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatrics units, has previously announced its plans to develop a pediatric specialty care clinic in the Sequoia Gateway development. It’s Akers Specialty Care Center currently offers seven pediatric specialties: pediatric cardiology; pediatric endocrinology; pediatric gastroenterology; pediatric nephrology, pediatric neurology; pediatric otolaryngology; and pediatric plastic surgery. Plus, the center offers one prenatal specialty: maternal fetal medicine.

Kaweah Delta is purchasing land at the commercial center using a portion of the proceeds from its $5.49 million sale of 83 acres in southeast Visalia to the Visalia Unified School District in February 2019. Developers have also zoned the project to include a visitor center, gas stations, fast food restaurants, hotels, office space, and retail stores. Developers have said that in its early stages, the Sequoia Gateway project could capture up to 15 percent of the $117 million in uncaptured highway commercial services locally, generating sales tax revenue and jobs.

Kaweah Delta is evaluating which medical services will be developed at the location. The hope is that they will not only serve unmet patient needs, but help improve the financial stability of the organization, especially after the losses experienced during the pandemic, Herbst said.

“The hope is that this investment will help us maintain and grow jobs as well as help us stay on stable financial ground,” Herbst said. “We have to think outside the box to generate revenue so that we can continue to care for our community. We have done that through the establishment of our clinics, and we continue to develop opportunities.”

In early 2021, Kaweah Delta will open its new multi-specialty care clinic in Tulare. The 11,000-square foot clinic will be located in the former IRS building at the corner of Prosperity Avenue and Mooney Boulevard. The new clinic will bring primary care, walk-in, behavioral health, and specialty physician services closer to the people of Tulare. Patients of the new clinic will have the choice between scheduled appointments and walk-in services, seven days a week including evenings. Physicians and other providers will offer primary care and specialty services such as pediatrics, cardiology, orthopedics, diabetes care, surgery, mental health, and urology. The physicians will care for patients at Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Sierra View Medical Center, and Adventist Health Tulare. All patients will be accepted at the new clinic, regardless of insurance coverage.

Councilmember Greg Collins voiced his displeasure with the hospital’s decision at the Dec. 21 board meeting.

And I was very disappointed to hear this last week that Kaweah Delta is now going to construct a medical clinic out at 99 and Caldwell. And the reason I’m disappointed as Visalia and Kaweah Delta have had a long history of working together on projects that benefit both organizations, keeping the hospital downtown,keeping clinics downtown. City of Visalia sold land to Kaweah Delta many years ago and Lifestyles, the psychiatric hospital and other facilities sit on that lamb today and they’ve been very successful. So both organizations have benefited from that mutual benefit and now I learned that Kaweah Delta has elected to move out to 99 and Caldwell. I’ve always felt that they’re really not serving the city of Visalia but folks that may travel up and down 99. And certainly, by extending the sewer line, they have enhanced the development of this 126 acre development, which from time to time will be at odds with the city of Visalia, his long term plan.

Motion by Poochigian. Second by Taylor. 4-1, Collins No.

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