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Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
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Board Chairman Literally Helped Build Medical Center

The Honoree – Business Volunteer Albert Ghirardelli Providence Holy Cross Medical Center By SHELLY GARCIA Senior Reporter Albert Ghirardelli is about $1 million away from a $7.5 million fundraising goal to renovate the emergency and trauma services center at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. It’s the umpteenth time he’s spearheaded fundraising efforts for the hospital, dating all the way back to its creation and through its near destruction from two major earthquakes. Yet talking to him, one gets the impression that Ghirardelli regards his work as just another day at the office. He says he is just doing what needs to be done. “I don’t think these things happen by accident,” said Ghirardelli, a founder of the hospital, chair of the Providence Health Systems board and of the quality committee of the hospital, who is affectionately known as Mr. Holy Cross. “People have to be involved and see that these things happen.” Ghirardelli’s involvement dates back nearly 50 years, when the Northeast Valley was a small burgh with a tiny hospital in San Fernando and he, along with a handful of businessmen in the community, saw the need for a first-class facility that could service the area. “I was a young lawyer, and I was doing the public relations work,” Ghirardelli said. “I staged events and had a story, and we were trying to raise money and raise interest.” Since then, Ghirardelli has led the hospital through good times and bad. Providence Holy Cross lost its main structure in the Sylmar Earthquake of 1971, and by the time the hospital reopened six years later, the industry had changed. Smaller hospitals that had been minor players had grown in size and prominence. “Now they were major competitors so it was tough to get back in the field,” said Ghirardelli. “We struggled mightily for a number of years.” Time passed, reimbursement schedules changed, reducing the amount of funding for hospitals, and the Northridge Earthquake caused more damage and the need for more reconstruction. But Providence Holy Cross also grew with the times, building a $5.2 million diagnostics imaging center, and preparing for the renovation of its emergency center along with a new facility to be built in Valencia. “He keeps us all moving forward,” said Kerry Carmody, administrator of Providence Holy Cross. “He is a large part of that we raised $6 million, and he has been very successful with local foundations and community leaders because Al has such a positive working relationship with these people. They know him and trust him.” Ghirardelli grew up in the Northeast Valley, went to school there, raised his kids there and still lives there. An attorney, Ghirardelli also spearheaded the effort to build a courthouse in San Fernando. He kept his law practice in the Valley for years. But when one of his partners retired and another passed away, he took on another partner who lives in Pasadena, and eventually the practice moved there too. Ghirardelli is now of counsel at that practice, the Law Offices of Michael Overing. While he credits the hospital staff and the doctors for the hospital’s growth and success, Ghirardelli said, he can’t help but feel proud of the role the hospital has played in the community that he holds so dear. “It’s kind of nice to drive by and say, “Look at that. Isn’t that nice,'” he said. “‘I had a little hand in that.'” The Finalists Gary Cusumano Newhall Land and Farming Co. Gary Cusumano is a big backer of the Santa Clarita Valley. Exhibit A in Cusumano’s importance is his involvement in the development of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, the only hospital in the rapidly growing Santa Clarita region. Cusumano, a citrus grower with a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Davis and Stanford Business School Sloan Program, has chaired fundraising efforts for various programs the hospital carries out yearly. Among them are the Corporate Partners, Community Tree Lighting Ceremony, Valencia Arts and Sports Festival and others. Cusumano is also chairing Henry Mayo’s ambitious $12 million capital campaign to build a new emergency department and cardiac catheterization lab. Cusumano’s official title is chairman, The Newhall Land and Farming Co., a NYSE-traded developer of new towns and master-planned communities in north L.A. County. Slav Kandyba VICA Health Care Committee Almost every employer in the state of California has bemoaned the astronomical costs of healthcare and workers’ compensation at some point or another. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s Healthcare & Insurance Committee’s goal is to improve the lot of weary business owners hindered by such financial burdens. The committee monitors issues and forms a position on, or advocates introduction of legislation that affect healthcare access, quality and costs. “Our goal is to get the information out, so that everyone has the same basic knowledge of the facts. Whether it’s dealing with hospitals or health issues, we want to promote a clear understanding of the facts rather than just opinion,” Rick Miller, committee co-chair said. This year the committee focused on the SB2 repeal initiative, workers compensation reform, nurse ratios and nurse shortage issues, Medicare reform, and stem cell research funding. “I attribute our success to the very strong relationships that we have with area legislators. They wield a lot of clout. Along with the businesses we represent, we have helped get them to agree with us on some of the major healthcare issues,” Miller said. , Jeff Weiss

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