Driving along Highway 50 and looking south you can’t help to notice one particular building just west of East Bidwell is rapidly on the rise. The structure is that of what will be the first UC Davis Health facility in the city of Folsom.
It was in October of 2021 that UC Davis Health publicly announced that it had purchased a 34.5-acre parcel located at the intersection of East Bidwell Street and Highway 50, in what is referred as Folsom Ranch, or to many locals “50 South.” The purchase was made to expand UC Davis Health’s care in Folsom, an area they consider to be a prime location for the region to deliver wellness, community, convenience and care for patients.
Once constructed, the facility will encompass an outpatient medical office building and, in the future, a micro-hospital, an ambulatory surgery center and a hotel, according to the initial plans announced by UC Davis in a press release.
It was just this summer that Folsom city leaders gathered at the site to unveil the project billboard, standing on just bare ground at the time. The new, rapidly rising location is part of UC Davis Health’s approach of providing high-quality patient-centered care close to people’s homes, according to their release.
Folsom has been growing at a rate of nearly 3% annually and recently reached its highest population in excess of 86,300 residents, according to Census data. Among that increase is people over the age of 65. El Dorado County, which is adjacent to the Folsom Ranch development, saw the largest increase of adults 65 plus at 58%.
In addition to the new patient care facilities, UC Davis Health is partnering with AKT Development Corporation and Angelo K. Tsakopoulos to develop a first-in-the-world “Community for Health and Independence” in the region. The university-planned community will allow older people, and persons with disabilities, to live independently in technology-enabled homes designed with health care in mind.
UC Davis and Angelo K. Tsakopoulos have a history of working together to improve community health. In 1998, Tsakopoulos supported the creation of the UC Davis MIND Institute. Today, that institution is a world leader in the medical investigation of neurodevelopmental disabilities. At 85 years of age, Tsakopoulos’ interests have turned to healthy aging.
“While we are thrilled about our medical facility expansion here in Folsom, we know that the key to healthy aging for people starts in their homes,” said UC Davis Health CEO David Lubarsky. “We believe a reimagined community that leverages technology for human-made spaces where people live, recreate and work will promote better management of chronic disease and increase independence for valuable members of this population.”
UC Davis Health is committed to creating the healthiest and highest-functioning older adult population in Northern California through a combination of the latest technology, high-quality personal patient care, research and innovation, according to its media release on the new facility.
The organization strongly believes that technology can help individuals achieve their personal health and independence goals by staying in regular communication with their care teams. Technologies developed in partnership with users and health care systems also enhance providers’ knowledge of how to deliver better and more personalized care.
“With the expected population growth of older adults in the Folsom area and our goal of ensuring that we can meet patients wherever they are, we are confident the combination of our new campus and this new development will keep people healthier, in their own community, for much longer,” said Thomas S. Nesbitt, professor emeritus and co-champion of the Healthy Aging in a Digital World initiative.
Development of the new UC Davis Health Folsom campus at Highway 50 and E. Bidwell will occur over a long period of time to accommodate innovative care delivery or equipment that may evolve, along with unique needs of Folsom residents. According to UC Davis, the outpatient clinic will be the first to open at the campus and is expected to do so in 2025.
The new UC Davis facility isn’t the only medical expansion scheduled to come to the Folsom Ranch area. Just across the road, Dignity Health is in the early stages of what will be a 27-acre medical campus that will continue to rise over the next several years. Site preparations are currently underway on the first phase of the campus, which is planned to include a 66,000-square-foot medical office complex with an outpatient surgery center, urgent care, imaging, cancer care and specialty services. Continued development of the site will include eventual construction of a second medical office building, a heliport and a 100-bed hospital, which could expand to 300 beds by 2045.