Mineral King Wing
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A Marvel in 1969, but an Antique today
The Mineral King wing of Kaweah Delta Medical Center was built in 1969
to replace the Visalia municipal hospital. It is currently the heart of
KDMC, and is where we treat patients with cancer, who are having babies,
who need elective/emergency surgery and elective care, etc.... The Mineral
King wing also houses our cafeteria, pharmacy, and many of our operating rooms.
The building and its 221 patient rooms were cutting edge (and award winning)
when they were built, they are now 50 years old. To put that in context,
the Mineral King wing was built before we went to the moon, when the cost
of a house was $40,000 when Richard Nixon was President before....
Today’s Standards in Healthcare
Like a house that was built 50 years ago, the Mineral King wing is not
up to today's standards. The patient rooms are too small and are not
comfortable for our patients. Our nurses and physicians do not have enough
storage or room to work. Computers were not largely used in health care
until the late 1970s, so there is little room for them now.
To better serve our patients, staff, and physicians, we need to replace
the Mineral King Wing. The state agrees. After the Northridge earthquake
of 1994, the state passed SB 1953. This law requires that hospital buildings
like the Mineral King wing may no longer be used after 2030. Other parts
of our hospital meet standards, but unless the law changes, the 221 beds
in Mineral King (of the total 404 beds in our downtown hospital) must
be replaced or closed. If we don’t replace these beds, many local
residents and their families would have to travel to Fresno, Bakersfield,
or even farther away for hospital care.
Kaweah Delta is a public hospital. We see every patient that comes to us.
No one is turned away, even if they cannot pay. We have the highest Medi-Cal
volume in the state. This is our community, which we are honored to care
for. But we cannot afford to fund the construction of a new hospital building
on our own. Like other district hospitals throughout California, Kaweah
Delta can issue general obligation bonds to fund capital projects. These
bonds are repaid by property taxes paid by local property owners.
Measure H: A Mistake
Measure H in 2016 was such a bond that would have funded the replacement
the Mineral King wing. In 2015 we hired an architecture firm to design
a new hospital that included 221 beds, a new cafeteria, a new pharmacy,
a new central utility plant, etc. The total cost of this would have been
$550 million. Kaweah Delta was prepared to fund $208 million and the remaining
$327 million would have been funded through property taxes at $48 for
every $100,000 of assessed value. We made mistakes with Measure H. We
did not communicate well and the bond measure was defeated.
The Road Ahead
The Mineral King Wing still must be replaced, so we have gone back to the
drawing board. Our design firm was selected by Kaweah Delta, its board,
and by members of our community advisory committees. RBB is renowned for
building efficient hospitals for less money. This time we are committed
to better communicating with our community. We want you involved. We want
your ideas and opinion. We will be sharing everything on this website,
but we will also be hosting town hall meetings and special meetings to
communicate with you about the new design, its costs, and how it affects you.
Replacement or Repurpose
We are currently studying options to either replace the Mineral King Wing
Site-Analysis Option 1 (Click to view)
Site-Analysis Option 2 (Click to view)
Site-Analysis Option 3 (Click to view)
Redistricting: An Unanswered Question From Measure H
During Measure H we also heard from the voters that we should consider
merging Kaweah Delta Health Care District with other districts in Tulare
County. There are several health care districts that no longer operate
hospitals. We listened to the voters and we have conducted a study regarding
the process of merging districts and the impact a merger would have. Our
leaders have shared the contents of this report during many public meetings.
We have also been in communication with LAFCO, the agency that oversees
health care districts, and we are now beginning discussions with other
districts. We will continue to keep you informed regarding these district issues.