A New Dignity Health Hospital Announced
On Wednesday, January 8, Dignity Health gathered with local community leaders and unveiled the details of their plan for a new Elk Grove hospital. The brand new 200,000 square foot, 100 bed hospital will be built on Dignity Health’s current 28-acre property on Wymark Drive, which currently houses a 3 story medical office. Construction will begin in 2023 and the hospital is scheduled to be opened in 2026.
The new hospital, which will cost approximately $320 million to build, will replace the Dignity Health Methodist Hospital located in south Sacramento. Methodist Hospital, at 47 years, is in need of a state-of-the-art replacement to meet the needs of the Sacramento and Elk Grove area. The new hospital will serve the community from south Sacramento, Elk Grove, and all the way to Galt.
Back in 2013, the Elk Grove City Council under the leadership of then Mayor Gary Davis approved the project. During that time, environmental approvals and assessments were already completed.
Dignity Health’s current hospital plan is smaller than the project which was approved in 2013. The formerly approved project had a 6 story, 456,000 square foot, 330 bed hospital. Clearly, the project was scaled down to mitigate any concerns regarding environmental factors and effects on the community .
At the edge of Costco, and in the heart of the city off of Elk Grove Boulevard, the new Dignity Health Hospital will be in a prime location to serve the majority of the Elk Grove population.
During the chilly morning presentation, Sister Bridget McCarthy led a prayer. Chair of the Dignity Health Sacramento Service Area Board Gil Albiani, President of Methodist Phyllis Baltz, Greater Sacramento President for Dignity Health & Senior Vice President of Operations Laurie Harting, Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly, and City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen also spoke.
Gil Albiani, community leader and Chair of the Dignity Health Sacramento Service Area Community Board expressed a sentiment shared by a majority of people present when he described the beginning of a new area. “Today marks a major milestone for the entire Elk Grove community, and the broader Sacramento region. We will look back on the beginning of this decade as the beginning of a new chapter of high-quality, accessible health care for Elk Grove.”
Laurie Harting, Greater Sacramento President for Dignity Health & Senior Vice President of Operations, fondly recalled her start as a candy striper over 30 years ago. She went on to explain how she eventually became a nurse and moved into management. Harting expressed confidence in the building and execution of the new hospital. “Building a hospital requires expertise, engagement, and discipline and when constructed it must meet a myriad of seismic and safety requirements. It must meet the needs of the community new and in the next 50 years. And that’s exactly what we will do.”
During his speech, Mayor Ly, spoke of his memory of spending a month in Methodist 20 years when when his father was a patient. Ly talked about his gratitude to the staff of Methodist for saving his father’s life and for the excellent quality of care he received. Similarly, City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen spoke of her personal experience of giving birth at Methodist Hospital and remembering how when her water broke, every staff member she passed paused to make sure she was okay. Nguyen also expressed with satisfaction that over 60% of the staff at Methodist are minorities and that she was assured that that the makeup of the new hospital would reflect the ethnic diversity of Elk Grove.
Positive Reaction From Majority, Concerns From A Few
The majority of individuals we spoke to seem to approve of the new Dignity Health hospital. President of Methodist Phyllis Baltz expressed confidence that the Dignity Health hospital will be the first hospital to be completed in Elk Grove. The general attitude was “it can’t come soon enough.”
Nathan Zee said that he likes the close proximity of the new hospital. “If my kid breaks an arm, I can rush them right over to a nearby hospital. That’s huge. Why would I want to drive to south Sac if I don’t have to?”
Araceli Rodriguez says she hopes that the new hospital brings many jobs to the community. “I’m going to be looking out to see when they are hiring. If I worked here I could walk to work!”
Lori McCall expressed concerns about the traffic. “I live two minutes from here and I’m worried that there will be traffic on Elk Grove Boulevard or Bruceville Road. I just don’t know that they considered the effect on people and families who live nearby.”
There was some concern about the effect of a new Dignity Health hospital on the LBGTQ population. Evan Minton is currently suing Dignity Health because a gender reassignment surgery for him was canceled. Dignity Health canceled it because they do not perform transgender surgeries. When we asked Methodist Hospital President Phyllis Baltz about this issue she responded. “Dignity Health has a legacy for providing care to all people regardless of their background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Our mission drives our commitment to a welcoming and inclusive environment – all are welcome at our sites and the services that we offer are available to everyone in the community. This too will be the case at the new Dignity Health Elk Grove hospital, where we will continue to provide primary and specialty care that meets the unique needs of LGBTQ patients. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the City of Elk Grove and its residents to ensure that the journey to this new build and the relationship thereafter is a collaborative and successful one.”
Reactions From Community Leaders
Mayor Steve Ly
“Elk Grove is growing by leaps and bounds. Sooner or later our population will surpass 200,000. It just makes sense to have a hospital right in Elk Grove. I personally think we need more than one hospital in order to meet the needs of our growing and diverse population. I told the story of how 20 years ago my Dad spent a month in Methodist Hospital. I know what Dignity Health can do and I am looking forward to having a high quality of care right here in Elk Grove. It’s an exciting time and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”
City Council Member Darren Suen
“With all the a major healthcare providers already present in our city, Elk Grove is a great opportunity for the healthcare industry. I am happy to see Dignity Health choosing to double down on its investment and provide our residents quality care in our backyard. Hospital planning and construction is a long and complex process driven also by the state of California. We stand ready to work with Dignity in navigating that process successfully.”
Cosumnes Community Services District
Board Director Jaclyn Moreno
“A hospital in Elk Grove is long overdue and will be a welcome, and much needed, addition to our community. A huge thank you to all of those who have been working towards this over the last several years.”
Planning Commission Chair Mackenzie Wieser
“Serving as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Elk Grove for the past three years, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the development expansion happening within our great city. Being at the groundbreaking event this morning for the Dignity Health Hospital was very exciting. Having a hospital at the center of our city will provide critical life saving services for our community. I am excited to be at the grand opening event in a few years.”
City Council Candidate Kevin Spease
“Dignity Health has been a crucial thread in the Elk Grove healthcare fabric for many decades. As Elk Grove grows, an acute care facility within the city boundaries becomes still more vital. I’m glad to see Dignity Health’s continuing commitment to the Elk Grove community with their plans to build a new hospital campus.”
Former Mayor of Elk Grove Gary Davis
“I was Mayor when we approved the Dignity Health hospital several years ago. The project we approved was 300 beds and wouldn’t have necessarily been a replacement of Methodist. I remember the public hearings vividly as a number of community members were concerned about traffic, helicopter noise, and how close it is to homes. In the end, we worked collaboratively to put in place mitigation to ensure the hospital will fit nicely in this location. The new hospital plan is smaller and is a replacement of the South Sacramento Methodist hospital, but I am still excited about it. Elk Grove is a growing community and we don’t yet have any hospitals. My hope is that the future brings us at least three hospitals to serve our many residents. Dignity Health is a first rate organization and I look forward to their continued success in Elk Grove.”
Statements of Dignity Health Staff
President of Methodist Phyllis Baltz
“Dignity Health has served Elk Grove and the surrounding communities for more than 45 years and is now making Elk Grove’s first hospital a reality. We have been working toward building a hospital in Elk Grove since 2010 and are excited to move forward with the project. The location is perfectly situated to serve all of Elk Grove’s neighborhoods, and its service area will extend from south Sacramento to Galt.
As many surgeries and other medical treatments shift to outpatient care, our 28-acre Elk Grove campus has also been designed to accommodate additional expansions that may be required to meet future health care needs of this community.
One of Dignity Health’s core beliefs is collaboration. We are committed to forging strong partnerships, because we know that collaboration results in a better outcome. We are proud of the partnership we have with our physicians, our nurses, staff, volunteers and community organizations. They make us better.
We are also proud of our partnership with the city of Elk Grove. We want to acknowledge city council members and staff, past and present, who have contributed their time and talent to entitle our facilities and be a resource to us as we moved through the planning process. As Elk Grove grows, Dignity Health will grow with it.”
Dr. Jennifer Overbey, Obstetrician & Gynecologist
“I’m just very excited about the new hospital and being able to serve the patients in the heart of the community where I live.”
Dr. Kenneth Cheung, Neurologist
“I’m excited about this new hospital especially since I already work out of the Wymark campus. Elk Grove really needs a hospital badly and it will be nice to know that quality hospital care is just minutes away. I am proud to be a part of Dignity Health and look forward to serving my patients and our community in the new hospital.”
With all the new developments in Elk Grove and the fact that both Dignity Health and California Northstate School of Medicine are building new hospitals, it is certainly an exciting time for our city. The Elk Grove Tribune looks forward to sharing with you all the continued new developments. When the Dignity Health hospital in Elk Grove opens, we’ll be there!