Atascosa Health Center is building new facilities
With development of Eagle Ford Shale drilling and its supportive services, there is a significant rise in health care needs in this area.
This article coincides with National Health Center Week.
The Atascosa Health Center, Inc. (AHC), which has been providing health care to residents of Atascosa and surrounding counties for 37 years, is celebrating National Health Center Week August 12 – 16th. In the same week they are celebrating health centers nationwide, AHC is celebrating the construction of a new health center in Pleasanton.
Monty Small, CEO of Atascosa Health Center, Inc. said that discussions for the new health care facility in Pleasanton began in 2005. The structure on Oaklawn was built in 1953 as a hospital, before becoming AHC’s physician’s office in the 80’s, when AHC moved from Poteet. “It just isn’t functional for a physicians’ office or a a health care system.” Small said.
LEON ZABAVA is the Oil and Gas Editor of the Pleasanton Express. He can be reached at 830.281.2341 or firstname.lastname@example.org
building was built to also function as a community room, and is available for local community groups to use. Currently, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce uses the facility for their monthly meetings, and the Pleasanton Little League has used the facility to host their registration.
After being awarded a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2012, AHC finalized designs for the new, state-of-the-art medical facility that will double the number of medical rooms from 10 to 20, and dental rooms from four to eight. The plans comprise of a new, 4,000 square foot Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) facility. “Our location is perfect; we’re located right across from H.E.B.” Small said. “We have a little over three acres and our plan is to build a 20,000 square foot facility.”
Driving past the facility recently, you may have noticed the new modular building in place. Small explains, “It’s been a nightmare to our dreams, utilizing temporary facilities as we begin the new building construction. You can see the patients are a little confused as to where to go. We have signs in an attempt to help.”
Though the construction will provide some headaches, the new facility will allow for more expansive services than are currently offered. Small said, “We want to have a ‘state of the art system’ here in Pleasanton. It will incorporate a pod system, with individual wings for pediatrics, internal medicine, and family practice. The new pod system is especially important because, it allows the sick, contagious patients to be separated from older or pregnant patients. The new design will include a wellness center, a nutrition center, and a workout area as well.”
Atascosa Health Center is also negotiating ways to partner with Camino Real Community Services (CRCS), the local mental health and developmental disabilities authority, to provide space for CRCS’s patient population and to improve access to CRCS’s services for AHC patients.
TheAtascosa Health Center, in addition to the clinic in Pleasanton, has facilities in Floresville, Karnes City and Three Rivers. These facilities provide crucial medi- cal care to rural populations that would normally have to drive an hour or more to receive the same services from another provider. AHC serves patients who are uninsured, underinsured, and insured, as well as patients with Medicaid, Medicare, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Small explains that AHC wants the community to take ownership of their health care center, and one way of doing this is by ensuring board members represent the diversity of the communities as well. Small said, “We’re made up of fifteen board members, and AHC is actively recruiting two more. Our board represents our user base – meaning, most of the board members are also patients of the clinic. We have board members that are elected from the four communities where AHC has a facility as well, so not only do they represent our patient population, but they represent their communities.”
Community health care clinics were first introduced as part of the ‘war on poverty’ during the Johnson administration. Community health centers provide crucial medical services to rural populations with less access to medical and dental care.
The main structure in Pleasanton is expected to be completed by November, 2014, and the new Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) building is expected to finish May, 2015.