SIERRA VISTA — Residents of Cochise County and “our neighbors in Sonora” have the same goal of making sure quality health care services are available, said Dr. Dean French, the CEO of the soon to open Canyon Vista Medical Center.
Friday night the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation, the North American Research Partnership and the Mexican Consulate in Douglas, held a reception at the new medical facility, which was called “a milestone in health care,” by Mignon Hollis, the executive director of SVEDF.
It’s a way to strengthen the “relationship with our partners in Mexico,” Hollis said.
For Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes, the Mexican consul, health care in this part of the world remains an unmet need, but with the new hospital there is a brighter outlook for the future.
“It will provide excellent service” for both sides of the border, Espejel said, before taking a tour of the facility.
There is an uniqueness in the region because of the historical connection the states of Arizona and Sonora have, the consul said.
From a historic perspective this part of Arizona was once part of Mexico, until the Gadsden Purchase more than a 150 years ago led to the United States buying nearly 30,000 square miles of land as part of what are now the states of Arizona, California and New Mexico.
Espejel said like many rural areas in both nations, health care is always a concern.
For people in Mexico who have the financial wherewithal of being able to receive medical care at a place like Canyon Vista Medical Center, the facility is a benefit which cannot be overlooked, the Mexican consul said.
Like other places in the United States comparable facilities are not always available and the same is true in Mexico. Espejel said in his homeland there are a number of quality medical centers, but in rural areas health care is a challenge.
Later French said a hospital in the Sonoran capital city of Hermosillo has a medical center which performs open heart surgeries, which is not being offered at the hospital in Sierra Vista.
The new medical center in Sierra Vista will provide some services formerly lacking at the older hospital, meaning people will not have to travel to Tucson or Phoenix for these medical needs. The same is true for people who live in the border area of Mexico, where in some cases they currently have to travel more than 125 miles to receive upgraded medical treatment in Hermosillo, if it is not available in their local areas.
French said with the opening of the new hospital, some of these medical services can be provided to Mexican citizens.
However, he and the Mexican consul emphasized the services will be paid for by those who receive them, not at a cost to U.S. taxpayers.
Espejel said as the consul he will have to work with the U.S. officials to ensure Mexican citizens can come into the United States for medical treatments, as well as for emergency services.
“We have to plan to meet the health demands of this area,” he said.
During the tour, the Mexican consul and others from Mexico were amazed by the what Canyon Vista Medical Center will be providing.