Governor Janet Napolitano was in Cottonwood Tuesday to help celebrate the Verde Valley Medical Center, its staff and many friends celebrate the new Women's and Children's Unit on the 4th floor of the new east tower. The new unit is only partially constructed.
In introducing the Governor, Interim President Jack Dempsey told the crowd that squeezed between the steel structure of the unfinished unit that "a caring and skilled staff will make this a caring place, a safe place, an almost holy place where we will welcome new life."
Of Napolitano, he said, "she has fought wonderfully for health care and, thankfully, has won most of those fights."
"We have had some battles over health care in Phoenix," Napolitano said, "because I think quality health care should be available throughout the state, not just in the urban areas."
She recounted that the state has focused on women and children and that "provides a payoff over the life of an individual. That is smart thing to do."
Napolitano believes there needs to be a network of facilities for women and children, just like this one. She also believes a network of trauma hospitals is needed in the state, "because 40% of all trauma accidents do not happen in the urban areas."
She thanked the gathering, saying that the Verde Valley Medical Center serves as a model. "People tell me, 'we are not from Phoenix or Tucson, we can't get it done.' I think you have demonstrated, in the words of our President-elect, 'Yes we can.'"
The hospital's new Pediatrics and Obstetrics Unit was made possible by a $1.3 million gift to the Verde Valley Medical Center by Irmgard (Irmie) and Frank Schuster of Sedona, the hospital's largest single donation ever.