Jeff Lingerfelt

Jeff Lingerfelt is president of Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley.

When folks think of Adventist Health, it’s likely they think only of the hospital. I can’t blame them. Opening a state-of-the-art hospital in a rural community is a feat — especially during a time when rural hospitals across the nation are cutting services and, in many cases, shuttering altogether.

But Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley is more than just a hospital — we’re a whole health provider that includes a network of medical offices offering primary care services in California City, Mojave and Tehachapi. That means we’re here not only to treat you when you have an emergency, but also to provide preventive care. Our mission — “Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope” – compels us to do just that.

We’re also part of a powerful multi-state health system that allows us to attract specialists and services that may not be offered in rural areas.

We’re constantly seeking ways to expand our services to better serve our friends and neighbors.

Since opening, we’ve seen incredible growth. Emergency Department volumes have increased more than 30 percent, a sure sign that our community trusts us as its No. 1 health care provider. Almost 90 percent of patients surveyed said they would recommend Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley to others, well above the national average of 72 percent.

Our surgery unit is operational, and we’ve added new specialists, including a vascular surgeon, a gastroenterologist, an orthopedic surgeon, a pulmonologist and a podiatrist — many of whom are rotating through our medical offices for consultations.

We have plans to launch an infusion clinic out of our hospital, where patients can receive blood transfusions, antibiotic therapy and other injectable treatments.

In our medical offices, we’ve expanded our hours in Tehachapi to make care more accessible and have plans to do the same in California City and Mojave. We’ve brought aboard two new, skilled providers — Angela Locke and Liberty Fordham — who are both accepting new patients.

We’ve recognized a need for behavioral health services and hired a full-time licensed clinical social worker to work with patients on social determinants of health and provide a deeper level of care.

Being sensitive to the needs of our community and the lack of outpatient imaging services, we’ve begun an aggressive campaign to fundraise for more advanced equipment. A benefit dinner is being hosted April 9. You can contact Christina.Scrivner@AH.org for tickets.

Our community should be proud of these accomplishments — after all, this is your hospital.

When I think back on the last few months, what I’m most proud of are the caregivers who pour love and compassion into their work each day. I’ve seen nurses who have fought, cried and prayed for patients, putting them ahead of everything else in their world. I’ve seen administrators logging long hours to bring essential services to our community. I’ve seen compassion and love, and I see it every day I step foot in our hospital or one of our medical offices.

That’s really what sets Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley apart: love.

Jeff Lingerfelt is president of Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley.