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On a midnight in October of 1996, I was witness to a changing of the guard at what had been Valley Medical Center. With the movement of the clock -- and the boulder-size document contracting services to then-Community Hospitals of Central California -- was born University Medical Center (UMC).
At the time, I was covering health care for the Fresno Bee. On Thursday, March 29, 2007, as a six-plus-year employee of Community Medical Centers, it was crystal clear that the "guard" never really changed at the former county hospital.
As hundreds of UMC and other Community employees gathered to celebrate change on UMC's cafeteria patio -- the coming move of acute care services to the Community Regional Medical Center on April 16-18 -- speaker after speaker paid homage to what Bruce Kinder, R.N., summed up in one word -- "abundance." Abundance of talent, of skilled care, of worry and outreach, of coloring outside the lines, of devotion to mission and cause.
While hot dogs were knoshed, drapes were signed (Nancy Patrick, R.N., promises to make them into quilts -- add my name, Nancy!) and commemorative shirts and DVDs compiled, Dr. Steve Parks used a different word of the alphabet to echo Kinder -- even and especially in times of budget shortages, UMC/VMC staff created a lot of good, well, miracles.
As the father and in-law of several Fresno police officers, working for Community and with the skilled Level 1 trauma and other folks Level 1 at UMC as public affairs director has never been a job. It sure is nice to celebrate the passion with the abundance of go-the-extra-mile people who make Community "bigger than ever and stronger together."