Merging hospitals a critical move
UMC will virtually close down this week as all of its acute care shifts to Community’s new facility.
By Barbara Anderson and Tracy Correa / The Fresno Bee
An era ends this week as University Medical Center — which for decades has served Fresno County’s poor and Central California’s trauma victims — shuts down as an acute-care hospital.
And another era begins in downtown Fresno, where an expanded Community Regional Medical Center opens state-of-the-art trauma and burn units, becoming one of the state’s biggest and busiest hubs for emergency services.
On Monday, ambulances will begin a three-day effort to move about 130 patients from UMC in southeast Fresno nearly two miles to the downtown Community Regional Medical Center. The former county hospital will lose its emergency room, hospital beds, intensive care — virtually shutting down the 1950s-era institution.
The move will consolidate all of those services at the downtown hospital — which, like UMC, is owned by the nonprofit Community Medical Centers.
The new emergency-trauma department covers 56,000 square feet — almost the size of a football field and one of the largest in the state. Community opened the emergency room in 2005, but trauma services now will be incorporated into the building.
Community officials said absorbing UMC’s patients will make the hospital one of the 25 busiest emergency and trauma centers in the country, seeing 120,000 to 130,000 patients a year.
I and Symtym trained at UMC (when Symtym was there it was Valley Medical Center, and was when I matched, then changed their name before I got there), but the closure of the facility makes me feel quite ancient.
I spent literally thousands of hours in that cave of an ED, learning through good instruction and not a little learning-by-doing, and its closure marks the end of an era.
Now they have more residents, and a lot more space, and they’re probably taller and smarter as well. Best of luck to the EM program, and so long, UMC.