From Humble Beginnings to an Integrated Healthcare Delivery Network

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Published on January 11, 2019

PIH Health Whittier Hospital Marks 60 Years of “Patients First” Healthcare

Photo of PIH Health Hospital - Whittier when it first opened in 1959 and photo of how it looks today in 2019

From Humble Beginnings to an Integrated Healthcare Delivery Network

Photo of PIH Health Hospital - Whittier when it first opened in 1959 and photo of how it looks today in 2019Over the last 60 years, PIH Health Whittier Hospital has been a cornerstone in Southeastern Los Angeles County and Northern Orange County, providing some of the most advanced care available anywhere to keep our communities healthy. Started by a group of visionary business and civic leaders, the hospital has built a legacy of caring for countless people battling devastating illnesses, providing thousands of children with a healthy start and actively participating in the daily lives of our communities.

In January 2019, PIH Health Whittier Hospital marks its 60th anniversary. “It’s a strong start,” says James R. West, president and chief executive officer, “but our work is ongoing. Our future holds significant promise as we work strategically and passionately to offer the latest in medical advances delivered by knowledgeable and compassionate medical professionals for decades to come.”

Since its beginning in 1959 as a single 188-bed hospital, PIH Health has evolved into a fully integrated healthcare delivery system, featuring 722 beds, more than 5,000 employees and over 600 exceptional physicians serving nearly 2.1 million residents in its service area—a population larger than 15 individual U.S. states. Today, the organization includes PIH Health Whittier Hospital, PIH Health Downey Hospital, PIH Health Physicians, urgent care centers, home health, hospice, and 19 medical offices.

“The most significant change has been technology—the world in general has adopted so many new digital tools and that has also been true for the healthcare industry, including PIH Health,” said PIH Health Whittier Hospital Interim Chief Nursing Officer Karen Profeta RN MSN who has worked for the organization for 27 years. “New state-of-the-art equipment allows for more rapid diagnoses and treatments and has enhanced communication, teamwork, and collaboration between our physicians and nurses to improve patient care.”

Notable Milestones During the Past 60 Years Include:

  • 1959 - First infant, Joan Lonzo, born opening day, January 19.
  • 1968 - On-site 24/7 physician coverage for emergency cases.
  • 1969 - The PIH Health Foundation was created to target and oversee the hospital’s growing development activities, trusts, and endowments to raise funds in support of the hospital.
  • 1971 - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opened.
  • 1979 - Intensive Care Unit/Critical Care Center established. Family Practice Residency Program began.
  • 1985 - Same Day Surgery opened.
  • 1987 - Following the 1987 Whittier earthquake, PIH Health tripled the treatment capacity of the Emergency Department and built a high-tech Radiation Therapy Pavilion.
  • 1994 - Hubert C. Perry Health Pavilion opened, including the Ruth B. Shannon Maternity Care Center with 32 labor rooms and two surgical delivery rooms.
  • 1995 - Hospice House opened. High-Risk Infant Follow-Up Clinic opened, which in 2006 received a complete makeover and a 34-patient room addition.
  • 2000 - Opening of PIH Health’s Patricia L. Scheifly Breast Health and Ruby L. Golleher Oncology Centers, bringing advanced and life-saving diagnostic abilities to the community.
  • 2005 - $83 million Ed L. Shannon Tower completed; funded through donations. Engineered to resist a large earthquake, the facility is comprised of four patient floors with 34 rooms per floor.
  • 2008 - Bright Medical Group joined PIH Health.
  • 2009 - Wells Medical Office Building, a $25 million, five-story 106,500 square-foot medical office building, opened.
  • 2012 - Rebranded all entities under the PIH Health brand.
  • 2013 - $200 million Plaza Tower, located just south of the Ed L. Shannon Tower, unveiled. Expanded the hospital’s care with a 200,500 square-foot, six-level addition, two floors of which are located underground. PIH Health Downey Hospital (formerly Downey Regional Medical Center) joined PIH Health, increasing our service area to 2.1 million residents. (Read more about the fifth anniversary of PIH Health Downey Hospital joining PIH Health and the impact it makes on the community on page 10-11).
  • 2017 - 35,076 square-foot, three-story Bloomfield Medical Office Building opened in Santa Fe Springs to provide the local community with access to high-quality medical services such as an Urgent Care Center, Family Medicine, Radiology, an Eye Care Center, a Pharmacy, and Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

Additionally, the Whittier campus is a Top Designated Stroke Receiving Center in Los Angeles (LA) County, an LA Country STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarctions) Receiving Center, and an LA County designated Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics (EDAP). In 2005 PIH Health was designated as one of 11 Disaster Resource Centers (DRC) located in LA County and received a $561,500 LA Disaster Grant.

“Throughout its 60-year history, PIH Health Whittier Hospital’s innovation and 'Patients First' vision has fostered continued improvement of its award-winning, quality healthcare,” explained James who has served as CEO since 2004. “Whether through electronic records implementations, new construction, or through expansion of life-saving services, this organization strives to deliver the very best in healthcare.”

Karen added, “Into the future, I see PIH Health continuing to provide the best in quality care with the latest technology and skilled physicians and nurses who have such a passion for treating patients. Together, we will all embrace a shared purpose, using our clinical expertise and compassion to provide the best care possible to our patients and their loved ones.”

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.