|Nobody in San Joaquin Valley’s largest hospital system expected help from this quarter of the state. Just when the financial state of hospitals in California was on the verge being in the ER, one of the Nation’s poorest tribes has made the largest gift ever from an Indian tribe to health care in the state. |
The health care officials have their gratitude. 'The gift comes at a critical time when hospitals around the state are feeling the financial pinch and services are at risk,' said Community’s CEO J. Philip Hinton, M.D. 'It’s no exaggeration to say the Rancheria’s gift may tip the scales in some cases, allowing us to continue needed levels of service while government support is diminishing and our local population is growing.' According to Steven N. Parks, M.D., Chief of surgery at University Medical Center. 'It may even be a matter of life and death. I can tell you from first hand experience that the support received from the tribal members will literally save lives in the trauma center'.
Table Mountain Rancheria last week pledged $10 million to Community Medical Centers in Fresno, Calif. The reason behind this philanthropy is that many Rancheria officials and their members grew up without adequate access to good health care and hope the donation will help make health services available to more people in the Valley. The gift supports critical health care programs like Community’s Level-1 trauma center, asthma care, diabetes care, cardiac services and a prescription drug program for the poor.
Located near Fresno, Table Mountain Rancheria is comprised of 80 tribal members who oversee real estate investments and a successful casino. 'They’re working hard to keep lots of critical health services afloat, and the people of this area in turn need to make sure the hospital system stays healthy,' said Leanne Walker-Grant, Tribal Council Chairperson.
With a service area of 15,000 square miles (almost as big as Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island combined!) the community’s new Regional Medical Center will house California’s newest, state-of-the-art trauma center. Scheduled to open in 2004, it is the only Level 1 trauma center from Sacramento to Los Angeles, and from the coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.