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AVH Celebrates Healthcare District Month, Reflects on 60 Years of Community Care

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In honor of Healthcare District Month this May, Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) is celebrating its heritage as a district hospital. Formed 60 years ago the Antelope Valley Healthcare District is one of 78 districts in the state created to address a shortage of access to acute hospital care, particularly in rural areas. Today California’s district hospitals receive more than 4 million patient visits and provide $54 million in uncompensated care annually.

As a district hospital, AVH remains true to its mission by continually improving and expanding its programs. Within the last year, the hospital:

  • Became an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, which means better outcomes for stroke patients.
  • Achieved designation as a Baby-Friendly facility that provides support and encouragement for successful breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding.
  • Was one of the first districts in the state to be named a Certified Healthcare District by the Association of California Healthcare Districts based on transparency in its leadership.
  • Opened the Institute for Heart & Vascular Care offering comprehensive cardiovascular care in one convenient location.
  • Has logged 218,000 patient visits, 105,000 of which come through the emergency department, making it one of the busiest hospitals in California.

“The Antelope Valley Healthcare District is proud of what we have accomplished over the past six decades,” said Dr. Don Parazo, a member of the Antelope Valley Hospital Board of Directors and immediate past chair of the Association of California Healthcare Districts. “We are dedicated to continually expanding our programs through innovation, partnerships and steadfast leadership to ensure that our communities have access to the best medical care when they need it.”

Healthcare districts were created after World War II to address a shortage of access to acute hospital care for many areas of the state, particularly rural areas of California. Fifty healthcare districts operate in a health professional shortage area, a medically underserved area, or a medically underserved population area. In 2012 healthcare districts treated just over 1 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries, which represent 10 percent of the total Medi-Cal beneficiaries statewide.

“Healthcare districts are formed by the will of the people and are uniquely authorized to meet the needs of the communities they serve,” said Dennis Knox, chief executive officer of Antelope Valley Hospital. “Working with our locally-elected board members, I am proud to be part of a district hospital that delivers leading-edge care while serving as a ‘safety net’ for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”