Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare Celebrates 60 Years of Community Care | Message center
When the residents of the Tri-Valley on East Bay had a health crisis or needed a medical specialist sixty years ago, they had no choice but to travel 20 miles to Hayward or 30 miles to Oakland.
That changed in 1961 when residents of what was then the patchwork of small townships started a campaign to raise money – sometimes $ 1 at a time – and senior executives received grants to build Valley Memorial Hospital. Over the years, the facility has kept pace with the growing Tri-Valley region, providing comprehensive medical care and serving as a training facility for the next generation of clinicians.
In 2015, ValleyCare expanded its nursing and medical education opportunities by joining Stanford Medicine to Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare.
“Historically, ValleyCare has always been a traditional, community-based healthcare system,” said Richard Shumway, President and CEO of the organization. “And ValleyCare has been doing this very well for 60 years. But joining the Stanford family has allowed us to bring really high quality, complex programs – normally only available at academic medical centers – directly into the community. “
Founded by and for the Tri-Valley community
In the late 1950s, the Tri-Valley region – which includes the Amador, San Ramon, and Livermore valleys – consisted of small towns surrounded by farmland and ranches. The area’s only hospital was a small 18-bed facility in Livermore that was not equipped to provide critical care, emergency care or the treatment of complex diseases.
In order for the region to thrive, community leaders realized they needed a bigger hospital. The plans moved in earnest after the Kaiser Paving Co. donated a piece of land in downtown Livermore to build the facility.
“Then it was really the community that started the fundraiser,” said John Yee, MD, vice president of clinical initiatives at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare, who joined the hospital in 1982.
Residents, Yee said, went door-to-door to raise funds and local employers ran fundraisers. “Every month, every paycheck, they donated $ 1 or $ 2 or $ 10,” he said. “The community really is the origin of the hospital, and the board was made up of those members who put money into the system.”
Local leaders also applied for government grants to supplement funds raised by the community, and on October 2, 1961, Valley Memorial Hospital opened with 46 beds and 23 employees.