The Venezuela Adventist Hospital is located in the city of Barquisimeto in the western part of Venezuela and has offered its services both to the community and to the church since 1978. It serves the territory of the West Venezuela Union Mission, with administrative and financial support from the Adventist Healthcare Services–Inter-America.
Brief History of the Development of the Venezuela Adventist Hospital
The institution now known as the Venezuela Adventist Hospital began within the confines of the First Barquisimeto Church, now known as the Central Church. It provided dental and medical services through the aid of dentists and doctors who had been friends of church members.1 The quality care that it offered soon earned it a good reputation. The services were free to the community through “open clinics” that led to professional and spiritual development among those participating.2
Establishment of the Institution
The institution consists of three units: (1) A hospital with two buildings, the Quinta Maranatha and one under construction; (2) the Adventist Medical and Dental Center; and (3) the Adventist Dental Center. The location of the original institution was in the Central Church in Barquisimeto. The commitment of the congregation to fulfilling its mission enabled the members to build a dispensary, school, printing facility, and the church itself all at once. The growing need for medical services and the interest of professional Adventists in the health field expanded the medical program, motivating the Seventh-day Adventist West Venezuela Mission to offer room in its headquarters for outpatient medical consultations. In 1978, the mission turned the building over completely to health activities, with areas for surgery, hospitalization, maternity care, and outpatient consults.3
The population of the state of Lara in general have benefitted greatly from this work. Church members, Pathfinder clubs, and health professionals from the Barquisimeto Adventist Church have actively supported the medical outreach. The hospital obtained its first credentials from the municipal registration organization in 1984. Through the years, they have continually been renewed as have the various certifications that permit the institution’s functioning.4 The first buildings only contained dental and medical offices, but currently the growth of the facility has allowed it to offer “the best Christian medical services,” a phrase consistently associated with the facility throughout the years.5
History of the Institution
Health services in the city of Barquisimeto started in the Adventist Dental Center in 1960. In the 1970s, the West Venezuela Mission acquired the Quinta Maranatha three-story building. The mission used it as office space with some areas reserved for medical visits. When the mission offices moved to another site, it allowed the building to be employed in its entirety for medical services. Remodeled, it then opened in October 1978 as a 10-bed hospital, offering surgical and maternity services.6
At first the mission’s presidents (Ernesto Santos and Nathaniel García, 1978-1981) acted as its administrators. Beginning in 1982, the hospital had its own leadership. The West Venezuela Mission legally registered the hospital in 1984 under the name Fundación Clínica Adventista. Gradually it offered new services, and in 1985 acquired new facilities and the Adventist Medical Dental Center began 100 meters away from the Quinta Maranatha. Along with laboratory examinations, it started outpatient services in the areas of x-ray, ultrasound, dental, ophthalmology, general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Later, it added a 24-hour emergency room. Laparoscopies, reconstructive surgery, general surgery, pediatric surgery, urology, and others specialties joined its list of specialties.7
At the administrative meeting of the Venezuela Antillian Union held June 21, 1989, the West Venezuela Mission turned the institution over to the union according to denominational regulations, with the purpose of broadening its services to the national level and to the whole union.8 Starting in 1993, the clinic began the construction of a new building that would increase the number of beds to 45, in response to the needs of the thousands of patients that came to the institution each year. This second building under construction would meet national and international requirements.9 Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, with the support of the Adventist Healthcare Services–Inter-America, and in cooperation with the West Venezuela Union Mission, the institute’s growth has been a priority. During July 2014, it purchased and remodeled a building for the Adventist Medical Dental Center located a few meters away from the Barquisimeto Central Church, increasing the number of dental offices to four with plans for more.
Historical Role of the Institution
The Venezuela Adventist Hospital is a private non-profit institution with legal responsibilities that go along with the private practice of medicine and with social responsibility, and it has as its purpose to provide medical services and supplies. Its objective is to coordinate resources in order to give quality medical attention, unite medical personnel in the institution’s mission and vision within the framework of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to promote the institution in the community.
The mission is “an institution for health care with Christian principles, sharing the message of salvation through preventive and curative services.” The vision proposes that it should “be an excellent Christian health institution at the regional level, with highly rated development, committed to God, to the institution and the community, functioning with appropriate facilities and solid finances.”
The institution provides the following services: imaging, with x-ray and ultrasound; surgery and hospitalization for various pathologies, with specialists in internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, occupational medicine, urology, nephrology, dermatology, geriatrics, cardiology, pulmonology, nutrition and dietetics, trauma and orthopedics, vascular disease, endocrinology, gastroenterology with endoscopies and colonoscopies, ophthalmology, and general medicine in the emergency department. Additional services are a laboratory, healthy living center, general dentistry, orthodontics, child dentistry, and orthodontic surgery.10 The nursing department has 12 nurses holding university degrees. For legal reasons, there are no volunteers.
In 2019, the hospital had eight beds. The emergency room has four beds for observation purposes and one examining room. Seven consultation rooms serve for medical office visits. In addition, the facilities have five dental consultation rooms located at 42nd Row, in the corner of 17th Street, and four dental stations at the office on 23rd Row. A yearly average of 168 hospital patients and 75,000 outpatient visits occurred during 2010-2018. The Venezuela Adventist Hospital gives the Adventist Church in Venezuela a positive image.11
Vision for the Future
The projection for growth and the strategies for continual improvement in the quality of patient care and social outreach strengthen the desire to finish the construction of the new hospital with special interest in creating professional excellence. The modernization of the buildings for dental visits and creation of adequate means for supporting the mission and growth of the church are its fundamental objectives.12
List of Administrative Leaders
Founding Doctors: Crucita Berancourt de González, José Carvajal, José Villegas, Daniel González Sánchez, Juan Lizarzaburo, and Leo Acosta Palma.
Executive Administrators: Pacífico Merchán (1982-1984); Gonzalo Carreño (1985-1989); Franklin Caicedo (1989-1990); George Newball (1990-1998); Alberto Gómez Lascarro (1999-2001); Nelson Ochoa Castillo (2002-2003); Marbelis García (2005-2007); Dolores de Sandoval (2008-2015); Daniel Bañez (2016- ).
Medical Directors: Rafael Villegas (1978-1982); Daniel González (1982-2007); Inés Milano (2008-2010); Yasmalí Casique (2011-2018); Gustavo López (2019- ).
President: Leo Acosta Palma, (2013- ).13
Administrative Committee, Governing Board. Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Archives, 1984-2018.
Casique, Y. T. Strategic Plan of the Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto. Barquisimeto, Estado Lara. Institutional archives, 2010-2018).
Department of Human Resources. Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto. Archives, 1984-2018.
Minutes of the Administrative Board. Venezuela Antillian Union, 1989.
Operation and Services Handbook. Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto. Archives 1978-2004.
Administrative Meeting Committee, Central Seventh-day Adventist Church of Barquisimeto, Archives, 1960-1970, 2014.↩
Reports from the Chaplain’s Office, Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Archives, 1980-2018.↩
Department of Medical Histories, Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Municipal and Institutional Archives, 1984-2018.↩
Constitution, Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Municipal and Institutional Archives, 1984-2018.↩
Administrative Committee, Governing Board, Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Minutes, Archives, 1984-2018.↩
Property Registration, Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Municipal and Institutional Archives, 1978-2018.↩
Book of Decisions of the Administrative Board Venezuela Antillian Union, 1989, 53.↩
License to Operate, Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Municipal and Institutional Archives 1984-2018.↩
Department of Human Resources, Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Archives 1984-2019.↩
Y. T. Casique, Strategic Plan of the Fundación Clínica Adventista de Barquisimeto, Publications and Institutional Archives, 2010-2018).↩
The Web access is: https://fundacionclinicaadventistabarquisimento.interamerica.org/. The email for official business is [email protected] and for social media is [email protected]. On Facebook, the site is listed under Hospital Adventista de Venezuela with the e-mail address [email protected]. Twitter: @hospadventist.↩