Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare announced its skilled nursing facility at the Livermore campus will officially close June 27, but officials report the city will see other enhanced medical services.

Rick Shumway, ValleyCare CEO, noted the pandemic brought about an evaluation of the health system that has served the community of Livermore since 1962. Alongside all health care organizations, ValleyCare halted elective procedures and turned its focus to emergent and urgent needs in preparation of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases.

“As we got further into pandemic, we wanted to make sure we were appropriately addressing what is one of the highest risk populations, and that is individuals in a congregate living situation, like a skilled nursing facility,” Shumway said.

He added that the admissions office began raising restrictions in early April in an attempt to decrease the risk COVID-19 imposed on elderly patients.

By the end of April, ValleyCare had no patients in the skilled nursing facility.

“Over the course of the month, we have evaluated this seriously,” Shumway continued. “Rather than introduce another congregate living situation back into the community, we decided we would re-evaluate our clinical protocols internally, we would manage patients at hospital and, if we felt it was appropriate to discharge them home or into another skilled nursing facility in the community, then we would be able to do that.”

The 40 employees staffed at the facility received 30 days paid notice and transition packages for medical and vision benefits. Shumway indicated the staff adjustments to be a large consideration and that, if applicable, some might transition into different areas within the organization.

Shumway further stated the decision to close the nursing facility did not reflect its larger vision for the Livermore community, which involves an expansion of services rather than a discontinuation.

“This was really focused on the right thing to do for this patient population, and that is what drove this decision,” he said. “As it relates to our view of Livermore as a really important part of our health care system, there are a few things I would share. Number one, we still have a very world class presence in Livermore. That old hospital building on that campus is only one part of that campus; we have a lot of other services we’re continuing to provide there — things like urgent care, ambulatory surgery center, a lab, pharmacy, physicians offices, programs, significant physical therapy and sports medicine programs. Just what’s there right now, I think it’s indicative of how critical we believe this community to be and how important it is to continue to serve the community of Livermore.”

Shumway also detailed the plans for enhancing or implementing new services. A program underway right now includes bringing in pain management specialists to serve in the chronic pain clinic. The group is growing its orthopedic program, along with building a pulmonary clinic to serve patients suffering from minor to acute issues. The Stanford School of Medicine faculty and university health system associate physicians will manage the pulmonary clinic.

The Livermore campus currently boasts diagnostic imaging, a laboratory, an outpatient surgery – ambulatory surgery center, a gastroenterology lab, an urgent care, a pharmacy, LifeStyleRx medical fitness center, cardiac rehabilitation, sports medicine, pulmonary rehabilitation, a sleep center, medical offices, food and nutrition services, ValleyCare Charitable Foundation, a staff development and education center, digital solutions, telecommunications, health information management, government and community relations and space provided to Open Heart Kitchen and Spectrum/Meals on Wheels, among other services.

“I am excited that our affiliation with Stanford is allowing us to make investments in the Tri-Valley,” said John Sensiba, Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare Board of Directors Chair.

Back in 2015, as ValleyCare Board Chair, Sensiba led the negotiations that resulted in Stanford’s acquisition of ValleyCare. As a result, the quality of medical care in Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin increased substantially.

“I’m especially excited about the build-up of services in Livermore, the birthplace of ValleyCare.,” Sensiba continued. “Livermore residents will see broader and more robust offerings close to home in coming years.”