BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy and exposed logistical shortcomings in a multitude of areas, both public and private.
But it also provided many institutions, healthcare organizations chief among them, with the chance to reevaluate the way they operate and, perhaps more important, develop new and better strategies for the future.
That appears to be the case with Adventist Health, which on Friday announced a range of initiatives, some we’ve heard about before and some we haven’t. Namely, longevity.
Adventist didn’t wait for the last coronavirus case to be resolved. Leaders of the three-state, 24-hospital nonprofit healthcare system were still neck deep in the pandemic when, four months ago, they decided to put their new, hard-won knowledge to work deciding where they want to be as a healthcare institution by the end of this decade.
Daniel Wolcott, president of Adventist Health of Kern County, convened a small press conference Friday morning to announce some key initiatives. First, Adventist’s primary, 20-acre Bakersfield campus on Chester Avenue, will be getting a third tower.
“22 percent of our population in poverty and that means they don’t have access to the resources necessary to live long and healthy lives,” Woloctt said. “So what is Adventist health going to do about it? Here at our downtown campus we’re planning to add a third patient care tower — and that patient care tower will house additional acute and surgical room space … On the third floor we would be adding (resources for) maternal and child care. And we would be reserving the fourth and fifth floors for future expansion.”
Adventist will also make some significant additions at its Tehachapi hospital — a 10 thousand square foot facility for primary and specialty care.
The biggest initiative is not brick and mortar, however, but philosophical. Adventist will advance further into the science of longevity by turning its still-undeveloped Bakersfield Commons campus into, essentially, a Blue Zone project — a place where Bakersfield can explore the lifestyle characteristics that enable people in certain so-called Blue Zones around the world to live to 100 years old.
Adventist has partnered with Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones,” to help the cities where it has a presence to put those lifestyle characteristics to work.
Put it all together and you have an ambitious plan to improve communities’ health and well-being — and polish up the Adventist brand in an increasingly competitive healthcare industry that has already sought to put aside its sterile, antiseptic image in favor of “Thrive” and “Hello Human Kindness.”
Look for some changes at Adventist Health in the next five to seven years.