INDIO, Calif. - It is a major milestone for healthcare in the Coachella Valley. On Sunday, the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital held its ribbon cutting ceremony for its Indio Outpatient Pavilion. The facility will see it’s first patient on Monday and will offer primary and specialty care to families in the desert.
“This is a prayer answered for all those parents who fear for their children’s lives,” said Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz. "We did the research hat shows there was only one doctor for 9,000 residents and that number was even worse for pediatricians."
Initially the clinic will offer a general pediatrician, immunizations and some specialty services like a child neurologist and there are plans to add dentistry and urgent care by the end of the year.
"When we were looking to try to figure out how to best serve those that we care for, you look for a place that has a lot of kids that have needs and then you go there,” said chief medical officer Richard Chinnok. "We’ll probably be seeing about 100-150 kids a day."
Chinnok said the facility should be fully operational by the end of 2018.
"Knowing that it's within five, ten minutes anywhere here in Indio and 20-30 minutes anywhere in the "Valley is such a relief," Angelina Castleberry told KESQ News Channel 3's and CBS Local 2's Katie Widner.
Castleberry's infant son underwent a kidney transplant seven months ago and said that at one point, the family had to drive the three hour roundtrip to the children's hospital four days a week.
There will still be stuff that needs to be done at the Loma Linda location. However, Chinok said the goal is to provide at least some of it as close to home as possible for families that need it.
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