Valleywise Health, Maricopa County’s healthcare system for low-income, underserved and ethnically diverse populations, is undergoing a major transformation, including a major upgrade and a new 10-story tower for its public teaching hospital in central Phoenix.

In addition, it has been adding new healthcare centers across the region and expanding its array of services to better serve those in need.

County voters made it all possible when they overwhelmingly approved Proposition 480 in 2014. The measure approved the $935 million Care Reimagined program.

READ ALSO: Ranking Arizona: Top 10 hospitals for 2021

Among the goals voters approved was to expand the health system’s reach into underserved areas, incorporate behavioral health services into its model of care, and replace the outdated Maricopa Medical Center with a new, modern acute care facility, the Valleywise Medical Health Center.

This public teaching hospital contains a Level One trauma center and houses the state’s only nationally-verified burn center.

Expanding healthcare in underserved areas 

Vanir, a national construction and program management firm, was hired to put together a comprehensive, integrative plan for the project, including demographic studies to determine where patient services are lacking.

“If you look at the drivers that keep people from seeking preventive medical care, the main one is a lack of access,” said Jennifer Frost, Vanir’s Arizona area manager. “Convenient, timely access to integrated, effective and efficient healthcare can reduce the overall cost of care and allow for greater access for all.”

As part of its goal to reach underserved patients, Valleywise Health is testing innovative programs like LiteraSeed, a web‐enabled, smartphone-based platform, which provides visual guides to help patients describe their symptoms even if they don’t know the words in English.

“Care Reimagined” construction projects completed and in the works

The expansion of the healthcare system, whose mission is to bring high quality, convenient and affordable care to every corner of the Valley, has been underway for the past three years.

Here’s a look at projects that are completed or underway:

Valleywise Medical Health Center Construction is underway to build a new tower and update and expand the current hospital at 24th Street and Roosevelt in Phoenix, which was built in 1967.

The project, which is scheduled for completion in 2023, will include a new 10-story, 673,000-square-foot tower with 233 private patient rooms, a dedicated floor for the Arizona Burn Center, 10 operating rooms, two interventional radiology areas, two catheterization labs, a dedicated procedural floor, rooftop and ground-level helipads and more.

Valleywise is also constructing a new 100,000 square foot support services building and an underground utility system on the campus. The project is replacing outdated structures from the 1980s.

Valleywise Comprehensive Health Center  – Peoria This new, state-of-the-art comprehensive health center at the corner of Grand Avenue and Cotton Crossing is currently offering services including primary care, cardiology, dialysis, ultrasound, phlebotomy and a pharmacy for current and new Valleywise Health patients. The final phase, scheduled to open this summer, will include an urgent care center, dental clinic, outpatient operating rooms, dialysis, a retail pharmacy, a cafe and a Family Learning Center.

Valleywise Community Health Center – South Phoenix/Laveen Located at 35th and Southern avenues in South Phoenix, this state-of-the-art facility opened last year and offers primary and pediatric care, women’s health, radiology, a pharmacy, diabetes care, behavioral health services with in-person and telehealth appointments, and more.

Valleywise Community Health Center – North Phoenix Completed in 2020, this center is located at 19th and Northern avenues, offering primary and pediatric care, women’s health, radiology, a pharmacy, diabetes care, behavioral health services with in-person and telehealth appointments, and more.

Valleywise Behavioral Health Center – Maryvale This 250,000 square-foot, 192-bed psychiatric center opened in 2019 at 51st and Campbell avenues. It is housed in the remodeled former Maryvale Hospital, which shut down in 2017.

Two other community health centers are also planned for West Maryvale and Mesa, to open later this year and in early 2022, respectively.

Rebranding a system that dates back to 1877 “pest house”

Steve Purves

In addition to the construction projects, part of the proposition funding was used to rebrand the healthcare system, whose history dates back to 1877, when doctors and patients banded together to build a “pest house” for contagious diseases.

Included in the rebranding was changing the system’s name from the Maricopa Integrated Health System to Valleywise Health.

“Becoming Valleywise Health (has allowed) us to more effectively articulate under one distinct and memorable name our bold vision to improve community health, while providing a modern network of services and facilities in which to train the next generation of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals,” said Steve Purves, Valleywise Health president and CEO.

Massive project employs local and out-of-state companies

The massive project involves the work of more than a dozen local and out-of-state companies including:

Affiliated Engineers, Inc.

Blue Cottage Consulting

Cuningham Group/EYP Health

DFDG Architecture

DLR Group

Gilbane Building Company

DWL Architects + Planners, Inc.

Hobbs+Black Architects

Kitchell Contractors

Land Advisors Organization

NNR Multicultural Business Development

Okland Construction

Siegel + Gale

Sundt Construction

The Innova Group


To read more about the healthcare system’s 144-year history in the Valley, visit: Valleywise history.


This story was originally published at Chamber Business News.