Clinic, center give Laguna Vista boost - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Clinic, center give Laguna Vista boost

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Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2018 10:35 pm

Laguna Vista officials say the new clinic operated by the UT Health Rio Grande Valley is the beginning of a renaissance.

The eight-patient room clinic opened for patients more than two months ago, and the town and the university will hold an official grand opening Wednesday at the clinic at 723 Santa Isabel Boulevard.

“We are underserved here, so it’s not just a health care issue for this community,” City Manger Rolando Vela said last week. “The fact that we’re located remotely from Harlingen and San Benito, Brownsville, they have hospitals and a lot of clinics. It’s also a development issue. We have a high percentage of retirees, people in their 60s and 70s, and they just can’t readily drive 30 minutes.”

The medical clinic had been operated privately, but the physician running the facility closed it and it was vacant for more than one year. So Vela said the town and its 3,000 inhabitants went to work to entice the university to take over and operate the facility.

“We told the interim medical school dean, we happen to have a vacant clinic, the doctor was there less than a year, with eight waiting rooms,” Vela said. “All you have to do is put up your logo, turn on the electricity, hook up the Internet and you’re in.”

To make the property more attractive and to satisfy some of UTRGV’s concerns, the town agreed to put up $125,000 to enhance the clinic and to subsidize the first three years of the lease for about $84,000. After that, the clinic will be on its own, Vela said, and medical school officials have said they are in town long-term.

“It’s a win-win for everybody, it’s just a dream come true,” he said. “Since I’ve been here over nine years, one of the things that was talked about is we need a clinic, and now it has become a reality.”

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

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