San Juan gets medical boost with new ER facility

SAN JUAN — Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held Wednesday for Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s newest free-standing emergency care facility. It is the McAllen-based hospital’s third satellite facility in Hidalgo County, adding to the hospital’s current ER locations in the Sharyland area and Edinburg.

“Free-standing emergency rooms are the wave of the future,” said Rio Grande Regional Hospital CEO Cris-tina Rivera. “It is our responsibility to serve the community so we need to be close to where the community needs us, especially during an emergency where every minute counts.”

Located at 200 E. Expressway 83 in San Juan, the new 11,000-square-foot free-standing ER is staffed with board-certified emergency room physicians and nurses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The $12 million center will feature 12 private treatment rooms, CT capabilities, digital ultrasound, digital diagnostic imaging, an on-site laboratory and telemedicine technology with a specific focus on stroke care.

“It’s a full-service emergency department,” River explained. “It is staffed by board-certified physicians and that’s extremely important, because they’re going to get the highest level of care at this location. If they have a situation that requires admission to a hospital then we will transfer that patient to Rio Grande Regional Hospital.

Dozens of local officials and residents attended Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, including members of the San Juan City Commission and the city’s economic development corporation. Mayor Mario Garza told attendees the opening of the stand-alone ER represents a giant leap forward for healthcare options in the city.

“The citizens are so excited to have a free-standing ER in San Juan,” Garza said. “A lot of people in the community have been talking about this. We have a lot of elderly folks who sometimes have medical prob-lems, and what Rio Grande Regional did by coming here is you made it easier and faster for them to get the services that they need. Decisions like this will improve the quality of life for our citizens of San Juan.”

Regional’s new free-standing ER is expected to serve about 1,500 patients every month from San Juan and surrounding communities such as Pharr, Alamo and Donna.

“We’re here to provide services to all these communities,” Rivera said. “As these communities start to grow we will be looking at expanding to these cities when the need arises. If it’s going to serve the people of our community, we’re going to invest and we’re going to do it, because patients come first in every decision we make.”