Get your name in the Sobrato Pavilion

Cutting-edge, environmentally friendly and aesthetically beautiful, the Sobrato Pavilion at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is a marvel.   The new main hospital building will provide essential healthcare services to the entire region for generations to come.

Funded by the taxpayers of Santa Clara County, the construction of the Sobrato Pavilion was supported by an unprecedented community fundraising campaign that raised millions in additional dollars to help outfit the facility with technology, artwork and other patient friendly amenities.

Donors to this campaign have been recognized with a special donor wall in the main lobby, and with plaques dedicating specific rooms or spaces throughout the building.

Some choose to honor a colleague.  Others, a deceased loved one.  Many choose to list their own name as a show of devotion to the institution they care for deeply.

Now, we invite you to join them.

All SCVMC staff and members of the public are now able to donate to the Valley Medical Center Foundation and dedicate a space in the Sobrato Pavilion.   There are few better ways to show your own commitment to healthcare equality in Santa Clara County and to leave a legacy for future SCVMC staff and patients.

Our new Information Kiosk (yes, it really is a big deal…)

Me, my hat (it was cold), Kim Lopez and two excellent volunteers showing the way.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center just got a little easier to visit, and a little more welcoming!

We’re so proud of our new information kiosk, purchased through generous donations from VMC Foundation supporters. It’s sturdy, wired for electricity, and expertly constructed. It’s even kinda cute; you can’t see in the photo, but it has a tiny Spanish tiled roof.  I was so thrilled when it arrived last week, and was curious to learn how much of a difference it would make.

So, to find out, I spent time there today volunteering. Wow—what an education I got!

Most hospital campuses are huge and sprawling, and ours is bigger than most…and let’s face it: Most of our visitors and patients would rather be somewhere else. They arrived stressed, sick, confused, emotional—and then suddenly have to decide which building is their destination. Signage can be missed, but what cannot be is a friendly face eager to help. Our volunteers are amazing, speak many languages, and now have a station where they can provide a comforting word, a map, and the encouragement of “You’re in the right place; it’s just there, through those doors.”

In the time I spent with our volunteers today, I watched and helped them direct an elderly couple to the Sobrato Cancer Center. A frightened woman was shown our urology clinic. A man, obviously not feeling well, got to the Express Care center with no trouble. Absent our kiosk and the team inside, I’m convinced their experiences would have been less positive. I mean, it’s hard finding your way around any complex set of buildings (remember your first day of middle school)…and when you’re under the weather, it’s much harder.

That’s why, I’m convinced, that another frequent request is “Can you help me find my car?” When parking in a 5-story garage, and your mind is on a loved one who is hospitalized…well, you get the picture. We’ve all done it, and nothing takes the edge off like having someone there to help you.

This is just one more way that your public hospital is making the experience better for everyone…and we at the VMC Foundation are so pleased to have helped make this possible. If you are a donor, THANK YOU, because YOU helped make this tiny bit of new real estate a reality. And as small as it is, it’s already making a BIG difference every hour, every day.

My final interaction before I left the kiosk was a man who approached and said “This is where I get information?” I told him it was.

“Great. What’s the capital of South Dakota?”

Sobrato Pavilion signage unveiled as new VMC hospital wing nears completion

John A. and Sue Sobrato pose with SCVMC CEO Paul Lorenz and COO Benita McClarin

John A. and Sue Sobrato pose with SCVMC CEO Paul Lorenz (right) and COO Benita McClarin at the Sobrato Pavilion signage unveiling on November 22, 2016.

The sign read “Sobrato Pavilion.”  But the message was “progress.”

Eight years after the voters of Santa Clara County overwhelming approved the construction of a new, earthquake-safe hospital wing at VMC, the building is finally taking shape.  And now, it has formally been dedicated for one of the valley’s best known and beloved philanthropists.

In 2012, John and Sue Sobrato made a then record-breaking gift to the VMC Foundation to support construction of the new facility.  The $5 million donation was matched by additional contributions from the community, providing needed resources to help outfit the building with the best equipment, technology and patient-friendly amenities.

A crowd of 100, including Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and Supervisor Mike Wasserman, join the Sobrato family for a special event to formally unveil the “Sobrato Pavilion” signage on the exterior of the building.

“It’s a great day for VMC, and we would not be here without the generosity and support of the Sobrato family,” said VMC Foundation CEO Chris Wilder.

The 370,000 square foot facility will house a variety of services, including VMCs renowned physical rehabilitation center for patients with major spinal cord and brain injuries.  Just as important, it will provide extra security in the event of a major earthquake.

Construction is set to be complete by summer 2017 and open to patients later that year.  For the staff and patients at SCVMC, it can not come soon enough, making this small milestone a welcome bit of news.

For more information about the Sobrato Pavilion, click here, and check out the pictures from the November 22 event below.

 

Sobrato Pavilion Signage Unveiling

A new Family Lounge and Library, inspired by Nora

The first thing that visitors see when they arrive on the 5th floor of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is not much at all – an elevator lobby, white walls and linoleum. It’s a place to walk to and from and nothing more. The revitalization of this small space will be the catalyst for efforts to transform the entire current “Main Hospital” into San Jose’s first Women and Children’s Center… all thanks to a little girl named Nora.

Thomas Boström and Claire McCormack stand next to the initial rendering of the new Family Library and Lounge that will greet visitors to SCVMC Pediatrics. Their gift is being made to honor their late daughter, Nora.

Thomas Boström and Claire McCormack stand next to the initial rendering of the new Family Library and Lounge that will greet visitors to SCVMC Pediatrics. Their gift is being made to honor their late daughter, Nora.

Nora was born on December 11, 2009, in San Francisco. “Within months, she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.  Because of her diagnosis, she became very experienced in hospital visits and longer stays. She passed away on November 22, 2013, in Palo Alto.

Her parents, Thomas and Claire, were Nora’s greatest champions, and since her passing have become fierce advocates for hospital safety and children’s health issues.

With the support of family, friends and co-workers, Thomas and Claire created a fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to honor Nora’s memory. That effort brought them to VMC for the first time, and to the bland elevator lobby on the 5th floor.

Understanding the need for families to have safe and engaging spaces to visit during their hospital stay, they proposed a small library area for kids to read books with their parents. It was an idea close to their hearts.

“Nora especially loved reading books,” shared Thomas. “We hope the space will offer an escape from the hospital setting for children and their families. We want it to be a place where patients can read books alone or with their parents. They can have a quiet spot outside their rooms to relax.”

Soon, when visitors arrive on the 5th floor, they’ll be greeted by a warm, welcoming space filled with books and cozy places to sit and read. The library will be a fulcrum for a remodeled lobby and hallway, outdoor patio and a small, multi-purpose room that will preview a grander transformation of the entire 5th floor and building. The family and patient experience will be permanently altered, all for the better.

It’s a fitting legacy for Nora that will benefit VMC families for decades.

To learn more, visit www.imaginevmc.org.

 

Health Trust makes $250,000 gift to transform VMC café

 

Health Trust leadership, including CEO Fred Ferrer, present their gift to VMC Foundation CEO Chris Wilder, joined by SCVMC CEO Paul Lorenz and Supervisor Ken Yeager.

Health Trust leadership, including CEO Fred Ferrer, present their gift to VMC Foundation CEO Chris Wilder, joined by Supervisor Ken Yeager and SCVMC CEO Paul Lorenz.

Promoting healthy food choices has been at the core of The Health Trust’s efforts to confront Santa Clara County’s ongoing obesity and diabetes crisis. At VMC, that’s meant funding a weekly Farmer’s Market on campus, and now – thanks to a $250,000 gift – transforming the only café in the future Women and Children’s Center into a fun and appealing source of healthy food for kids and their families.

Modeled after the nationally recognize café do-over at the Children’s Discovery Museum (CDM) in downtown San Jose – a project that was also funded in part by The Health Trust – the current VMC space will get a physical and menu upgrade. At the CDM, a generic, junk-food dependent space that had all the charm of an airport food court was replaced by a beautiful restaurant that promotes health eating using design, color and a novel menu. Healthy eating is not presented as an option (a la ordering a “diet” soda) – it is the only option. Yet, offered in a way that promotes the inherent quality and deliciousness of the food, and not as a “take-your-medicine” necessity.

It’s an approach that suits VMC well, where high standards for healthy food options already exist. The current space, however, needs a major face-lift. And there is an added benefit to adding a revitalized café to San Jose’s first Women and Children’s Center, beyond the people served. It sends a message that healthy eating is a cornerstone to health. Indeed, the new café will literally be in the corner of the building’s ground floor.

Work on the café will commence in 2017.

To learn more about the campaign for a Women and Children’s Center, visit www.imaginevmc.org.

Join us this Saturday in celebration of the Downtown Health Center

downtown clinic exteriorAt Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), we strive to make high quality healthcare readily
accessible to all residents of Santa Clara County. This week, we take one more step to improving access to care with the grand opening of Valley Health Ce
nter Downtown on Saturday, June 11th from 9 AM – noon. SCVMC’s beautiful new health center is located on 777 East Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose.

Many activities are planned to celebrate this opening on Saturday morning.

  • Local firefighters will serve a delicious free pancake breakfast to attendees.
  • Tours of the facility will be available throughout the morning.
  • Elected officials and other guest speakers will be attendance to warmly welcome the

Community to our spacious state-of-the-art healthcare facility.

  • We will have over 20 booths with information, games, and other activities for children and families.
  • The Santa Clara County Sheriff s office will present one of their fascinating search and rescue boats.
  • Guests can participate in a chance to win a free prize.

Our dedicated care team will provide a variety of services, including, but not limited to Urgent Care (open 7 days per week from 8 AM – 10 PM), Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, select Specialty Care, and Behavioral Health. We will also offer onsite pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology services. Urgent care, and supporting ancillary services will officially open on Monday, June 13th.  All other services will be rolled out beginning in late June.

Valley Health Center Downtown has the capacity to serve as a Medical Home for over 30,000 individuals, providing quality and accessible care as part of a fully integrated and comprehensive health care system.

For many years SCVMC has worked to foster close collaboration with our local community, community health partners and advocates, elected officials and the Measure A Oversight Committee to support and guide the creation of this new community asset in the heart of downtown San Jose.

The only thing you should read today

onlyI spent a day last week with the leaders of Ventura County Medical Center.  Not surprisingly, they are just as proud of their services as we are here in Santa Clara County—and they should be; from what I learned, Ventura County Medical Center is a jewel for their community…just like VMC!

They like to talk about “The Onlys” a lot. That’s their list of things that ONLY their medical center is and does. Theirs is a long list of “onlys”, and got me thinking about trying to compile our own list.

Of course, Valley Medical Center is known as the ONLY hospital in Santa Clara County that serves anyone, regardless of ability to pay. But as the alert reader of this blog knows, we also offer “onlys” that would have you choosing us even if you had platinum private insurance and a zillion bucks in the bank.

Here, in no particular order, are some of our “onlys”:

  • VMC is the only stand-alone pediatric intensive care unit in San Jose.
  • VMC runs the only Burn Trauma Center in the Bay Area (one of only two in the state north of L.A.)
  • VMC is the only medical center in Silicon Valley that’s existed longer than 130 years.
  • VMC is home to the only sexual assault response team in the county.
  • VMC houses the only Mother’s Milk Bank in California.
  • VMC is the only top-level trauma center in San Jose. It also serves Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties…none of which have trauma centers.
  • VMC provides the only brain/spinal cord injury rehabilitation inpatient service in the county.
  • VMC has the only Rehab Trauma Center in California.
  • VMC runs the only regenerative medicine institute in Silicon Valley.
  • VMC offers the only emergency acute psychiatric service in the county.
  • VMC is the only county hospital in the state with a genetics department.

…that last bullet I think is true – trouble is, “onlys” are hard to capture because there’s not usually some state-wide agency that keeps track of things like how many public hospitals have playgrounds on the roof (VMC does, and maybe we’re the only one).

What other “onlys” am I missing? Help me add to this list!

 

Women & Children’s Center at VMC receives $5.75 million towards launching campaign to raise $25 million

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, SAP, Sharks Foundation and the Rademakers Family announce major gifts.June 24 montage

Making a historic down payment on the future of women and children’s healthcare in Silicon Valley, SAP, the Sharks Foundation, the Rademakers Family, and FIRST 5 Santa Clara County have committed $5.75 million in seed funding to create a Women and Children’s Center (WCC) at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), which will be the first of its kind in San Jose.

“This Center will strengthen Santa Clara County’s historic commitment to providing quality care to women and children,” said Ken Yeager, Chair of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Health and Hospital Committee. “I appreciate the generosity of these donors. Their gift lays the groundwork for this essential service as we plan for the future of VMC.”

“Caring for women and children is at the core of what we do,” said Paul Lorenz, SCVMC Chief Executive Officer, during a news conference at SCVMC today. “This is a huge first step in raising the $25 million needed to make the Center a reality in 2016.”

The Women and Children’s Center at SCVMC will make use of an existing hospital building, consolidating pediatric, birthing and postnatal services into a single facility. Funded by a public-private partnership, the building will undergo significant renovation and upgrades to convert from general adult uses to specific women and children’s services.

A $4 million gift from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County will be invested in the labor and delivery department and the neonatal intensive care unit to be located on the third floor of the future WCC.

“This upgraded facility represents all the values we cherish at FIRST 5, which focus on making sure children five and younger have a better chance to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives,” said Jolene Smith, CEO of FIRST 5. “We’re excited because we’ll be able to integrate many of our programs and services throughout the WCC.”

With their $750,000 gift, SAP and the Sharks Foundation are making the single biggest donation to a non-profit since the foundation was started in 1994. As part of the SAP sponsorship agreement, SAP directs about $375,000 annually to the Sharks Foundation. The donation will sponsor the pediatric unit, located on the fifth floor of the WCC.

“The Sharks Foundation is thrilled to partner with SAP to fund the pediatric floor at the new Women’s and Children’s Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center,” said Jeff Cafuir, Manager of the Sharks Foundation. “We are extremely pleased to be involved with such a unique project that is going to make a significant and positive impact on the lives of so many here in Santa Clara County.”

“SAP is excited to support the development of the Women and Children’s Center as it reflects our belief that we strengthen our communities when we are making smart investments in projects aimed at improving the health outcomes for women and children,” said Jenny Dearborn, Senior Vice President at SAP.

After a tour of the WCC site at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, John and Ann Rademakers were so impressed they decided to donate $1 million to make it a reality. “We immigrated from the Netherlands decades ago and raised our children here. We have received so much from our community that we feel this is a meaningful way to give back and support the well-being of all our children.”

VMC is partnering with Silicon Valley Creates (SVC), the region’s arts and creativity network, to bring together artists and cultural partners to completely redesign the family experience with a touch of magic that complements VMC’s premier medical services.

“We believe in the healing powers of the arts and there will be no better place to put this idea to work than at the new Women and Children’s Center,” said Connie Martinez, SVC Chief Executive Officer.

The founding sponsors of the WCC have recognized why the WCC is urgently needed as San Jose is the largest city in the United States without a free-standing children’s hospital. That deficiency has been on the minds of healthcare leaders and local advocates for decades.

They emphasized, while the initial donations are a great start, much work needs to be done to raise the remaining $20 million necessary to finish the WCC.

To learn more about the Women and Children Center at VMC Campaign, click here.

It’s time to re-think charity…for the good of us all.

SitHappy-00022IMGL9901

When I first watched Dan Pallotta’s TED talk, I wound up yelling back at my computer screen: “That’s IT! That’s what I’ve been trying to say!”

Of course Pallotta, the founder of the AIDS Ride, said it far better than I could. His talk, “The way we think about charity is dead wrong”, lit a fire under me and many of my colleagues in the public benefit sector. He discusses why salary ranges are all wrong, why marketing and advertising is undervalued, and why the mission and potential of a charity (like the VMC Foundation) is more important than that of a video game company…yet the double-standard of for-profit vs. non-profit keeps societal problems from getting solved.

He also points out something getting new traction: The amount a charity spends on “overhead” – meaning fundraising and administration – is a poor measure of their worthiness. Now, a letter written by the leaders of three leading charity watchdogs called The Overhead Myth, is making the case in a loud and clear voice.

I would add to this conversation that another area where charities under-participate is in issue advocacy. Many nonprofits believe they are not allowed to get involved in politics, and in some cases that’s true. But in others, like the county Measure A campaign in 2008, the VMC Foundation was the largest donor. Why? Because a victory would mean a new hospital building and seismic compliance for Valley Medical Center. Seriously – how could we NOT have been involved? It was the very definition of “go big or go home” for us. By the way, we won, and the Sobrato Pavilion opens next year as perhaps the finest public hospital building in the nation.

So we learned a lot in 2008, and we applied it again last year in another “Measure A” campaign. This time, the $400,000,000 generated over the next decade will support county services that include fully funding the Children’s Health Initiative—ensuring that every child in our county has health coverage. This is not just good, but GREAT for Valley Medical Center…and more importantly, for our young patients.

Is issue advocacy a risk? You bet it is. We failed in 2010 with a similar ballot measure, and I wish we had that money back! But the private sector risks all the time, and frankly, Silicon Valley rewards aiming high and failing when it’s followed up by trying again. The public benefit sector has too much expertise and mission alignment to be sidelined when issues like hunger, homelessness and health become the subjects of political decisions.

Charities need to be bold, take calculated risks, and be measured not by the smallness of their spending but by the largeness of their dreams.

It was a historic (some might say Epic) weekend at VMC

HealthLink

The future arrived at VMC just after dawn on Saturday morning.  In an instant, massive change had come to the largest and busiest health system in the Valley.

HealthLink, the new electronic health record and core information technology system for the Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System was officially launched, culminating an unprecedented two-year effort to move VMC into the forefront of healthcare IT.  It took a cast of hundreds from every division, department and unit of the hospital to make HealthLink a reality.

It is hard to overstate how significant of an impact this change will have on the organization.

As longtime VMC Rheumatologist (and member of the VMC Foundation Board of Directors) Dr. Tom Bush says, “HealthLink is going be the biggest change that happens at Valley Medical Cener in the last 30 to 40 years, and it’s going to change our lives and workplace dramatically.”

Kaiser members will be familiar with many of the features of HealthLink.  The Oakland-based health giant spent billions to launch their core IT system, KP Health Connect nearly a decade ago.  Now, like virtually all other major health systems in the Bay Area, VMC is following suit.

HealthLink will soon allow patients to communicate with their doctor electronically, while viewing lab results, scheduling appointments and refilling prescriptions online.  Patient health information is securely stored and shared electronically, allowing specialty and primary care departments to communicate more easily and efficiently.

It will also prove to be an enormous time and cost saver, as doctors, nurses and clerical workers will avoid many of the  difficulties experienced tracking down patient information using old-fashioned paper charts.  Other systems that have implemented this technology found that patients enjoyed reduced wait times at pharmacies, labs and call centers, as more people were able to conduct their business online.

It goes without saying that HealthLink was a massive undertaking.  Indeed, it represents the most significant investment that the County has made in something that’s not a building.  Huge credit is due to the currently leadership of the Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System, including Director Rene Santiago, who championed this effort from his first day on the job over a year ago, and Paul Lorenz, VMC CEO.  Lee Hermann, Chief Healthcare Technology Information Officer for the Health & Hospital System, oversaw most aspects of implementation.    County Executive Jeff Smith had the vision to seek this solution knowing how antiquated VMCs IT infrastructure had become, and the Board of Supervisors, who provided the resources to make HealthLink possible.

And of course, the Health Link Champions, the Build-Teams, the Trainers, Subject Matter Experts, and hundreds of other VMC staff who worked for two years and redesigned every aspect of their daily workflow to prepare for the HealthLink go-live.

Work is far from done, as thousands of VMC staff will now use HealthLink in a clinical setting for the first time.  A whole smorgasbord of challenges must be identified and bested.  Indeed, as of this writing, a staff of hundreds are pulling 12-hour shifts in a round-the-clock command center that will stay in place for at least the next 10 days.

But the hard part is (hopefully) behind us.  Bravo.