Four months after the last hospital in northwest Mesa closed, community leaders will return critical emergency room services to area residents with the soon to be announced grand opening of the Arizona Regional Medical Center.
When Mesa General Hospital closed in May, the community was left with a critical gap in emergency room services, said Jo Ellen McNamara, executive director of the West Mesa Community Development Corp.
The community organization's primary purpose is to help the economic and community development in west Mesa.
The group coordinated efforts between medical specialists and community leaders interested in restoring hospital services to the community.
Dr. Robert Siegel, affiliated with Advanced Cardiac Specialists, not only wanted to continue his practice in the community, but also wanted to return emergency room services, McNamara added.
Siegel could not be reached for comment, but Advanced Cardiac Specialists, a privately owned cardiac and internal medicine practice led by Siegel, was operating in the hospital at the time Mesa General's parent company, Iasis, closed the hospital because it could not make capital improvements to the property.
Shortly after the hospital closed, Siegel began working with the property owner, Sierra Land Group Inc., to lease the property and reopen the hospital. Siegel led the effort to renovate the property and upgrade the equipment, McNamara said.
On Saturday morning, volunteers from the hospital will cook a pancake breakfast for the community. Residents are invited to tour the facility. There will be balloon animals and face painting for children.
The Arizona Department of Health Services will do a final review Tuesday, and then hospital administrators will announce the date services will be available to the public.
Arizona Regional Medical Center plans to provide emergency, intensive care, cardiac and X-ray services.
The hospital will not provide obstetrics or pediatric service, said Robin Harris of the West Mesa Community Development Corp.
The hospital will initially have up to 40 beds, with plans to expand to about 105, he said.
Mesa General's closure last spring followed by a few months the shutdown of Banner Mesa Medical Center on Country Club Drive near Brown Road left the area without an emergency room and other services.
Bridgett O'Gara of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association said hospitals are doing everything they can to adapt to changing financial circumstances.
"There has been tremendous growth occurring throughout the state, and hospitals are striving even during these difficult economic times to meet the needs of their communities," she said.