Laurene Weste Talks About Santa Clarita's TCU Plans
Council woman hopes to spread the word that progress is being made towards the development of a new Transitional Care Unit in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The following is an editorial by Laurene Weste, City Councilmember (and TCU City Council Ad Hoc Committee)
For the last 18 months, Mayor Kellar and I have had the privilege of leading a small, dedicated group of local community members in a quest to bring a new transitional care facility to our community. In 2006, when Henry Mayo NewhallMemorial Hospital announced the impending closure of their 27-bed transitional care unit, it set off a chain reaction of concern across our community, especially among our senior community.
Seniors, many of whom depend upon a transitional care unit for their care following an in-patient hospital stay, were very concerned about how they would receive the care they needed once discharged from the hospital. Family members of seniors expressed concern regarding how they would be able to easily visit their loved ones if a transitional care unit were not available in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Following months of meetings, telephone calls, research and good old-fashioned hard work, our committee was able to come up with what we believe is a series of very viable solutions to these important issues, now and into the future.
This community needs and deserves a transitional care unit that can adequately provide state-of-the-art care for those who need it, and that includes care today and care for future generations. If you’ve ever been hospitalized, or have a loved-one that has been hospitalized, then you know what a very vulnerable time that is for the individual and the family. To that end, our committee has successfully worked with G & E Healthcare to provide that local necessity. G & E currently owns and operates Astoria, a state-of-the-art, 218-bed nursing and rehabilitation center in Sylmar, and has provided health care services in the Santa Clarita Valley for the last 10 years.
G & E has provided a conceptual plan to the City for a $30 million project that will include a one-story, 75-bed transitional care unit on a four-plus acre complex in the center of our City, in the Centre Pointe Business Park. This new facility will also house a multi-level assisted living facility. The G & E project will answer our community’s need for a state-f-the-art transitional care facility and more assisted living space, now and well into the future.
At this time, G & E is in the due diligence phase of escrow for the property they plan to convert into this new facility. Their preliminary application is currently with our City planners for review and comment.
The process for building, the time-consuming State licensing process and opening this type of facility is expected to take up to three years to complete. In the interim, we have reached out to our local Senior Center and have worked out a plan between the City and the Senior Center to provide regular, handicapped-accessible transportation for family members to visit their loved ones who utilize the G & E Sylmar nursing and rehabilitation center, called Astoria. In this way, our community can still have access to a transitional care unit that is minutes away, and their families can visit them there. The City’s Route 8 bus to the San Fernando Valley will be adjusted to provide regular bus transportation directly to Astoria a few times each day and, the SCV Senior Center has offered to provide transportation services to Astoria weekdays, staff permitting, and particularly in emergency situations.
I want to personally thank all of the members of our TCU committee and the Senior Center for their hard work and dedication in helping to develop these solutions to this important community issue. It is my honor to work with each of you who care so deeply for our community, our seniors and the future of our residents. Please know that the City of Santa Clarita will do everything in its power to support this project. Thank you!