INDIO – Minutes before the ribbon was cut to welcome Loma Linda University Children’s Health – Indio, Jill and Barry Golden Pavilion, the largest pediatric clinic in the area, Democratic U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz called on local hospitals to collaborate with the clinic.

Ruiz specifically called out by name Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs and John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio to work with the children’s clinic.

Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz

Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz

“So the clinic will provide for generations to come the services those hospitals cannot provide,” Ruiz pointedly told the crowd.

Currently, the Eisenhower Health Family Medicine Residency program collaborates with Loma Linda University Medical Center. Family medicine residents spend a month in their first and second years rotating at Loma Linda, Martin Massiello, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Eisenhower Health:

“Regarding the new outpatient facility in Indio, there have only been preliminary discussions on how Eisenhower’s Graduate Medical Education program might collaborate moving forward,” Massiello told Uken Report.

JFK Memorial and Desert Regional Medical Center both have pediatric units in our hospitals, and we are supportive of efforts to expand access to pediatric specialty care in our region, Richard Ramhoff, group director of marketing for Tenet Healthcare — Desert Market, told Uken Report. “We’ve already begun some initial discussions with Loma Linda and look forward to exploring ways to enhance healthcare access for children of the Coachella Valley. We also recognize that it will take more than just hospitals to tackle this issue. It will take health care professionals of all types working with community organizations to raise the health status of our kids.”

Ruiz Calls on Hospitals to CollaborateThe grand opening was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the All about Kids Health Expo on Sunday, March 11.

Dr. Richard H. Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health, shared his excitement as Loma Linda University Health expanded its service area into the Coachella Valley to provide healthcare that is accessible and available to those who need it most.

“We are committed to this valley. We are committed to you,” Hart said. “We are committed to your children and the leaders they will become for this region.”

Nearly 400 individuals attended the private ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Indio Mayor Michael Wilson and Ruiz, who emphasized how proud he was to work with Loma Linda University Health to get the Indio project off the ground and see it through to fruition.

“Families will now have access to critical pediatric services right here in the east valley, strengthening the health of our entire community,” Ruiz said. “Expanding and ensuring access to healthcare for everyone, regardless of where you live or how much you make, has been my life’s mission. Today is an important milestone to realizing our shared vision for a future where everyone has access to the affordable care they need, when they need it.”

Following the ribbon-cutting was the inaugural All about Kids Health Expo, which was attended by over 1,000 community members to enjoy free healthy fun for the whole family, including giveaways, activities and food trucks.

LLU Children’s Health – Indio officially opened its doors to the community Monday, March 12, offering pediatric primary care services.

In the coming months the clinic will roll out other services, such as urgent care, telemedicine, dentistry and other specialties. The nearly 13,000-square-foot building houses 20 patient exam rooms, three dental chairs and an X-ray room.

The clinic is also home to a bottomless bookshelf, courtesy of Scooter Golden, to encourage reading and literacy. Any child who receives care at LLUCH – Indio will be able to take a book home.

To make an appointment or for more information about LLUCH – Indio, call 760-477-0733 or visit them on the web right here.