Twenty-eight years ago what was then Intercommunity Hospital in Fairfield was ready to proceed with an expansion. But we knew there was an abiding yearning in Vacaville for a hospital there. We knew there was an unfulfilled need, but the state of California was in an era of “comprehensive health planning,” which simply meant the regulators were not approving new hospitals.
Then a new governor was elected. He made it clear he had a different view about health planning. He opened the door to approving new hospitals. That was all the Board of Directors and top management of Intercommunity Hospital needed to hear.
So Intercommunity Hospital halted its plans for its Fairfield expansion as our leadership sought permission to build a hospital in Vacaville. In short order, we acquired land in an unincorporated part of the county, got it annexed to Vacaville, received permission from local and state agencies, arranged financing and began construction. Within three years, the job was done.
For those like Vacaville mayor at the time, Bill Carroll, and then-city manager Walt Graham, it was a dream come true. Finally, Vacaville would have a full-service hospital complete with emergency services.
I was present when VacaValley Hospital was conceived. I saw the hard work that was necessary to make it a reality. There was the fund drive led by Mayor Bill, which provided the money needed to seed the project. We had great support from both local newspapers. As we developed our case for local and state approval, there were thousands of letters of support from Vacaville residents. Fairfield and Suisun City leaders endorsed the project, a reflection of the united front for a common goal. Those memories still burn brightly for me.
VacaValley Hospital was the catalyst for the healthcare system we now know as NorthBay Healthcare. Intercommunity Hospital became NorthBay Medical Center. Health care in Vacaville and Dixon was now more accessible.
Twenty-five years is a relatively young age for a hospital. We have new dreams for our VacaValley Hospital campus. The 600-plus employee work force will grow when we soon unveil plans for a major expansion of services.
Happy birthday, VacaValley Hospital. And thank you, Vacaville, for making it possible for NorthBay Healthcare to be a part of your community.