A Dream Come-True: Canyon Vista Medical Center Prepares to Open Doors

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From: The Sierra Vista Herald

Bill Hess / bill.hess@svherald.com

A Dream Come True:
Canyon Vista Medical Center prepares to open April 23rd

SIERRA VISTA — For years many saw a need for a new facility to expand medical services for not only Sierra Vista but Cochise County and southeastern Arizona.

It’s been a vision for at least 20 years, both Bruce Dockter and Ron Wagner told the Herald/Review Friday.

Dockter, who is the chairman of the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center Board of Trustees, said, “We’ve known for years we needed a new hospital.”

To which Wagner, who once was on the board of trustees and now is the chairman of the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona, said, “We always had the land for a new hospital.”

In the 1990s, more than 70 acres of land was purchased, when Dale Decker was the hospital CEO, and some of it became the area where some surgeries are performed and for an imaging center, along with a medical office building being constructed.

But, for nearly a year and a half, people who drove on Highway 90 could see the skyline on the south side of the road change as a four-story hospital rose.

And this week, the new hospital will be turned over and on April 23, patients will be moved from the current SVRHC to the new facility, with a new name — Canyon Vista Medical Center.

During the interview, Dockter was wearing a shirt with the SVRHC emblem on it but he smiled and said, “I’ve got a shirt with Canyon Vista on it.”

Both he and Wagner noted the desire for a new hospital for the area was important and they said an earlier attempt to find a partner in the endeavor was not successful.

In 2010, SVRHC entered into an agreement with Carondelet, a Catholic nonprofit medical group, which drew the ire of many people who would use the facility as well as some medical providers, because of some constraints in health care, particularly when it came to women’s reproductive rights.

It led to what can be best described as testy turmoil, marked by rallies by those opposed to the agreement.

In 2011, the agreement was mutually ended and the SVRHC trustees embarked on seeking a new partner.

In the decision-making process in finding a partner, both men said, there were specific wants and one included the chosen partner had to agree to have the funds to immediately build a new medical center.

Dockter said there were some non-profits which applied but they all said while they wanted to build a new hospital it would have to wait until they had the funds.

It then meant only for-profits had the potential and when the process continued, the decision was made to enter into an agreement with RegionalCare Hospital Partners.

Wagner added RegionalCare has done everything they said they would and they brought to the table the expertise to include the right architectural firm — Gould Turner Group — and the company to build it — JEDunn Construction.

Dockter added, RCHP also recommended the right CEO, Dr. Dean French, who had experience with hospital moves and was an Army Special Forces medic before earning his medical degree, which makes him a good fit for the community because of its connection to Fort Huachuca and area veterans.

Becoming a partner with a for-profit organization meant some changes had to be made in the hospital governing status and it led to the establishment of the Legacy Foundation which will handle the financial assets of the former non-profit hospital as the money can only be used to benefit the community.

As for the the end result, which is now visible along Highway 90, Dockter said “It’s a defining moment for the community,” to which Wagner added, “it was the right decision.”

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