Fit as a Fiddle

Expanding choices for patients and professions power the medical field

Joan McKenna Health & Wellness, Vision, Watch & Listen - Health & Wellness 0 Comments

Increasing choices in primary care, a growing field of specialists, and medical facilities with state-of-the-art technology ensures that residents of Greater Palm Springs have access to excellent care — and a growing market for healthcare professionals from near and afar.

Three hospitals — Desert Regional Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center, and JFK Memorial Hospital — cover the desert valley from one end to the other.

Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs offers the Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences (ICON), with neurosurgery, spine surgery, joint replacement, stroke, sports medicine, and occupational medicine treatments. It earned the Joint Commissions’ Gold Seal and certification in hip replacement, knee replacement, and spine surgery. HealthGrades ranked the hospital among the nation’s top 5 percent for joint replacement and gynecologic surgeries. It is also the only designated Level II trauma center between Riverside and Phoenix.

The Comprehensive Cancer Center, Joslin Diabetes Center, Women and Infants Center, Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences, and a neonatal intensive care unit are also located on campus; the cancer center and ICON have satellite locations in La Quinta.

The hospital recently added the new Epoch system by Stereotaxis, allowing doctors to guide a catheter through a patient using remote-controlled magnets  to precisely target specific areas of the heart and correct cardiac misfires and atrial fibrillation.

The O-arm — a movable CT scanner slid around patient during surgery — conducts 3-D imaging during orthopedic and trauma surgery, giving surgeons real-time pictures during procedures. The Mazor Renaissance spinal surgical guidance system, about the size of a coffee cup, uses software and a robotic arm to assist surgeons with the precise placement of components, such as screws, to reduce the size of incisions.

Part of Desert Regional’s stroke center, the biplane neuroangiography suite pinpoints, removes, and destroys brain blood clots using tiny coils. The access to high-end, rapid response can restore blood flow to vital areas, a critical factor in improving stroke outcomes.

Both Desert Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Medical Center offer surgeries with the minimally invasive da Vinci robot, used for several types of keyhole operations.

The 540-bed Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage includes its centers of excellence: Lucy Curci Cancer Center, Eisenhower Neuroscience Institute, Smilow Heart Center, and Eisenhower Orthopedic Center. Located on 80 acres in Rancho Mirage, the hospital consistently earns a national top 100 ranking.

Other facilities on the campus are the four-story inpatient Walter and Leonore Annenberg Pavilion, a 43,600-square-foot emergency department, the renowned Betty Ford Center, and Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center. The 24-suite Stacey and Greg Renker Pavilion offers luxurious recovery, with private concierge service and five-star accommodations and dining. The 92,000-square-foot Eisenhower George and Julia Argyros Health Center in La Quinta features outpatient services, an urgent care facility, and the Schnitzer/Novack Breast Center, which recently added GE Healthcare’s SenoBright contrast enhanced spectral mammography.

In Indio, the 156-bed JFK Memorial Hospital offers a range of specialties, including obstetrics, surgery, imaging, gastrointestinal services, outpatient rehabilitation, neonatal intensive care, and the JFK Bone and Joint Institute. HealthGrades has ranked it in the top 5 percent in the country for joint replacement orthopedic surgery.

Primary care doctors and specialists continue to discover a great place to practice in the desert, where they can enjoy a resort lifestyle and help meet community demand. Growing areas of specialty include cardiology, reconstructive surgery, dermatology, oncology, and pediatrics.

With the Greater Palm Springs population projected to reach 573,964 in 2016 — a 30 percent increase from 2008 — the need for primary care physicians is urgent. To address this, the new University of California, Riverside medical school opened this year with 50 students; it will offer graduate family medicine education programs at Desert Regional Medical Center in 2015. A UCR Health family medicine clinic has already opened in Palm Springs.

Eisenhower Medical Center’s School of Graduate Medical Education and Research, the area’s first teaching hospital, welcomed its first class of 22 medical residents this year. An Eisenhower Health Center opened in Palm Springs, with services ranging from primary care to gastroenterology. Eisenhower Medical Associates also offers primary care in Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, and Palm Desert, with offices opening soon in Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, and Palm Springs.

Eisenhower is also changing the model for patient access with its membership concierge care, Primary Care 365, offering easier access to doctors, along with online services.

• The healthcare industry comprises 9.9 percent of the Greater Palm Springs workforce.
• Greater Palm Springs added 1,324 healthcare positions (rising to 12,120) in 2011, a 12.3 percent increase from 2007.
• From 2000 to 2011, health services represented the largest share ($333.91 million, or 22.4 percent) of the $1.49 billion increase in Greater Palm Springs payrolls.
• The average healthcare salary is $56,125.

Source: Coachella Valley Economic Partnership 2012 Economic Report

Hospital acute care, home healthcare, and hospice services are the fastest-growing segments of the healthcare sector? And registered nurses will be the most in-demand workers in Greater Palm Springs, with about 90 openings annually through 2016.

Source: Desert Healthcare District

The Clinton Health Matters Initiative launched a project in 2012 to address healthcare needs and disparities in Greater Palm Springs. It was the first community in the nation chosen to develop a regional strategy.

“The Clinton Health Matters Initiative works to improve the health and well-being of people by activating individuals, communities, and organizations to make meaningful contributions to the health of others,” says Tricia Gehrlein, regional director of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative. “The goal of CHMI is to reduce the prevalence of preventable diseases, reduce healthcare costs associated with preventable diseases, and thus improve quality of life.”

In 2012, about 150 community leaders met to develop a Coachella Valley Blueprint for Action, which address nine areas of focus over five years, including health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors that contribute to health, and the physical environment. “We work with local organizations individually and as part of ongoing workgroups to facilitate and support their efforts,” Gehrlein says.  

“Our role is to be the neutral convener, bringing disparate groups together to help address health disparities within the region.”

VIDEO: For more about Clinton Health Matters Initiative, see the interview with Tricia Gehrlein.

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