Hospital to purchase Liberty

Newest acquisition part of ongoing expansion of services

Hospital to purchase LibertyBy REBECCA NEIPP, News Review Staff Writer

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital announced this week that it has entered into a letter of intent to purchase Liberty Ambulance.

The official announcement follows RRH Chief Executive Officer Jim Suver’s unofficial announcement at last week’s IWV Economic Outlook Conference.

He joked with some 200 community stakeholders that, in a small town, confidential memos could be leaked within minutes. “We are in discussions with Liberty Ambulance to create integrated emergency medical care,” he said. When services are locally controlled, “outcomes are much better.”

The purchase and assumption of operations are still pending approval by Kern County, Liberty management and the RRH Board of Directors.

“We would like to take the opportunity to recognize the investment and hard work the Poulin family put forth in creating a state-of-the-art ambulance system that has always been a leader in patient care and technology,” said Suver. “RRH will continue that tradition and integrate pre-hospital services into its ever evolving healthcare system. We are pleased that several key individuals at Liberty Ambulance will remain with the organization and be part of our team.”

“It is exciting to have the two emergency providers come together and create a hybrid system that provides greater services for our patients,” said Peter Brandon, CEO of Liberty.

“I honestly believe Ridgecrest Regional Hospital will elevate the patient care components in the field settings through expansion of services and a dedication to enhancing patient outcomes”

The EMS system served by the ambulance will encompass more than 6,000 square miles of coverage, including Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley, Lake Isabella and portions of San Bernardino, Inyo and Tulare counties.

“In the near future, RRH hopes to expand our medical transportation system and implement a Critical Care Transport Team and Community Paramedic Program,” said a spokesperson.

The expansion of emergency services delivered by RRH in recent years also includes a recent initiative to station Mercy Air full time at the hospital.

“Seconds matter when you’re having a stroke, a baby, or another emergent health crisis,” said Suver.

RRH is also in the process of a massive expansion of the emergency department.

At the outlook conference, Suver recapped partnerships RRH has developed with other agencies to expand options for those in need of mental health crisis stabilization, cancer treatment, dental care, mobile outreach, extended obstetrics services, spinal care and more.

He noted that recent physician recruitment efforts have also helped attract three family physicians, two pediatricians, two psychiatrists, one internist and a new emergency room physician.

“Our strategy is to link with academic medical centers to get state-of-the-art physicians,” said Suver.

“We are also working on developing new partnerships for additional specialties.”

Story First Published: 2019-03-08