East Valley families have another option for their kids as Phoenix Children’s Hospital opens an urgent care and speciality center today just a mile from the area’s newest hospital.
Pediatric specialists at the $5.3 million Mesa complex will see children by appointment during the week. Urgent care is available after hours and on weekends until 11 p.m.
The hybrid center enters a crowded market in the booming East Valley, where an estimated 430,000 kids will live by 2030. It’s part of an expansion that will include three more centers in the west and north Valley, and a near-doubling of its main Thomas Road campus.
About 15 percent of Phoenix Children’s patients drive to the central Phoenix hospital from the East Valley, said Ben Anderson, director of ambulatory network development. Children treated at the Phoenix location can get follow-up care in Mesa.
Anderson said the idea is to complement pediatric services already available, including a growing array of urgent cares and specialists, as well as the nearby Banner Children’s Hospital at Banner Desert Medical Center.
“We want to integrate with the community, not compete,” he said. “Part of our plan is outreach to these facilities. We want them to know we’re here.”
Less than a mile south of the Phoenix Children’s center, the newly opened Banner Gateway Medical Center has an 11-bed pediatric unit. Just south of the hospital, Good Night Pediatrics offers urgent care from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“This is not about competition,” said Julie Reisetter, administrative director for emergency services at Phoenix Children’s. “We’re going to partner with (Gateway) because they’re the closest acute-care hospital.”
Phoenix Children’s trademark purple, red, yellow and green color scheme dominates the walls and carpet, and is splashed above the front entrance.
In the lobby, parents can access the Emily Center via computer and its vast library of health information and resources.
In addition to lab and diagnostic testing, the center offers speech therapy, feeding therapy and audiology services. There will be no general pediatricians, but a range of specialists from cardiology to neurology.
A full-time psychiatrist and nurse practitioner will provide behavioral health services and help reduce a backlog of evaluations, Anderson said.
Though there will be no in-patient beds, the specialists may help fill a gap left when Banner Desert Behavioral Health closed a year ago.
The facility isn’t equipped to handle trauma or other acute emergencies. Reisetter said medical staff will call 911 if necessary and the child will be taken to the nearest hospital.
Ten miles to the west, Banner Desert is in the midst of its own $328 million expansion, anchored by a seven-story children’s tower that will nearly double the number of pediatric beds from 137 to 248.
The tower opens next fall.
The Phoenix Children’s East Valley Center held a public open house Saturday and a gathering for area pediatricians on Thursday.
Mari Laube and her twin daughters were special guests at Saturday’s event.
Both girls had brain tumors removed at Phoenix Children’s Hospital when they were 3 years old. Meredith is tumor-free, but a small bean-sized tumor remains in Madeline’s brain, despite another surgery when she was 5.
The girls, now 13, get regular MRIs to see how things are going. The East Valley Center doesn’t have MRI or CT scans available yet, but should be ready when the twins are due for a checkup in a year. That will mean less time out of school and less time away from work for their parents.
“It’s never been an issue for Dave and I to drive from northeast Mesa to wherever we have to go to make sure our kids are OK,” Laube said. “But it will be a heck of a lot nicer to have a 15-minute drive instead of an hour.”
The twins are thriving at school and enjoying typical teenage activities — shopping, movies and friends
“We will always support Phoenix Children’s,” Laube said. “They basically saved our daughters’ lives.”
Phoenix Children’s Specialty and Urgent Care — East Valley Center
5131 E. Southern Ave., Mesa
• $5.2 million, 30,000-square-foot facility
• 20 examination, three triage, three respiratory and two procedure rooms
• Laboratory and diagnostic equipment
• Speech and feeding therapy, audiology services
• Psychiatric evaluations
• Estimated 35,000 to 45,000 children treated annually