Welcome, Valley Health Center Downtown!

IMG_5318It’s a very, very big week for Valley Medical Center.

After more than a decade, on the site of the former San Jose Medical Center, in the downtown core of the 10th largest city in the United States, medical care is happening. Yes, Valley Health Center Downtown is OPENING!

For folks new in town, a little history:

In the winter of 2004, San Jose Medical Center closed abruptly after 80 years of service. A coalition of downtown activists tried—and failed—to prevent the closure, and then quickly turned their energy toward the future. The question: What could we do to ensure that downtown residents, regardless of insurance status, had somewhere to go for urgent and ongoing medical care?

Meanwhile, up the road at Valley Medical Center, the impact was felt as twice the number of patients began arriving in the Emergency Department than before the closure. Then three times the number.

The team at VMC’s ED worked brilliantly to manage the patient demand. At the same time, a growing coalition began crafting a plan to re-build part of VMC and build another health center downtown.

The opportunity came during the presidential election year of 2008, and the coalition moved with purpose. Measure A was crafted, and long story short, we WON in November. This secured the $50M it would take to build a state of the art health center at 777 East Santa Clara Street where San Jose Medical Center once stood.

And now, eight years later and on budget, Valley Health Center Downtown is serving patients. Last Wednesday we held a VIP and donor reception to thank everyone who made it all possible. The event included many attendees who were there, eleven years ago, working to save what ultimately couldn’t be saved. It was an emotional event and included scores of donors, elected officials, builders and medical professionals. Truly a wonderful evening.

You may think I’m “burying the lead” here, but I’m not. The VMC Foundation throws good parties, sure, but the most important thing is that the mission of Valley Medical Center is being actualized in downtown San Jose…and I am so happy and so proud. For all who made it happen: THANK YOU.

If you would like to be a part of the excitement, a grand opening celebration happens Saturday June 11 at 9am, on site at 777 East Santa Clara Street in San Jose. Free to attend, lots of fun for the whole family – c’mon down!