Upon first look, the closure of Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare’s skilled nursing facility at the Livermore campus seems reasonable. Given the guidelines from the state to halt all elective procedures, reducing COVID-19 exposure to the nursing center’s vulnerable population makes sense. But those who once staffed its halls say the move was not rooted in COVID-19 concerns. In addition, patients wonder where they will turn for care when nothing else in the region is comparable. It seems something is missing from this picture. That missing piece is the extraordinary service the skilled nursing facility provided to the Livermore community.
Residents are worried that the hospital may be dismissive of the hospital’s roots. Originally called Valley Memorial Hospital, ValleyCare opened its doors in October 1961 with 46 beds and 23 on the medical staff. The construction funds were made possible through federal grants and generous donations from the community, whose health care options in the Tri-Valley region were slim at the time. Those who helped contribute to the cause gave for the good of their community.
While some understood the need to move the main medical center to Pleasanton in 1991, others felt the move ignored Livermore’s contributions to make real the dream of a hospital.
So now, in looking at yet another move away from Livermore, the public is yet again concerned. For many who still remember the day Valley Memorial Hospital first opened — especially those who helped finance the building blocks — taking away this five-star service nursing facility does not feel right.
The Livermore community contributed to the development and support of ValleyCare. The community is its lifeblood. Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare should be asked to reconsider its decisions to close the skilled nursing facility, or at least consider re-establishing a similar facility in the near future when the fiscal dust from COVID-19 has settled. The community and those staff members who poured their hearts into serving patients deserve another chance.