EDINBURG — UT Health Rio Grande Valley has added its second multispecialty clinic, providing four departments in health care under one roof in a facility that boasts about 18,000 square feet.
The multispecialty clinic has four sections with primary and urgent care, OBGYN, vision and surgical specialty — ear, nose and throat, endocrine surgery, plastic surgery and orthopedics. The facility opened in July with a soft launch, currently taking in patients and is slated with an official opening through a ribbon cutting ceremony set for Thursday.
UT Health Rio Grande Valley is the clinical practice of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine, which will operate the clinic. This is all in accordance with the university’s mission to have a region-wide presence in education and serving the community.
“It entails putting together many different specialties or many different disciplines so that we could comprehensively care for a patient,” Dr. Linda Nelson, senior director of clinical operations, said.
For instance, a patient who is diabetic may need to get their eyes or retinas checked, Nelson said. Diabetics need to get their eyes checked frequently, she added. With the four sections in one place, it adds elements of convenience and accessibility.
“We like it as a one-stop shop,” Nelson said.
These specialties will care for other needs of the community.
“We’ve married primary care with our specialties, which is important because… many of our patients in the Valley need more than just primary care,” she said.
Nelson said she expects about 20 to 30 patients a day for each section.
UT Health Rio Grande Valley also operates a multispecialty clinic in Harlingen with several clinical sites spread across the region that provide healthcare services.
There are two specialty clinics in surgery in Harlingen, and officials wanted to bring that over to the Upper Valley, she said.
The need for a primary clinic was also a motivator.
“We did not (have), not up until this point in Edinburg, … a sort of freestanding primary care clinic outside of the hospital base residencies,” Nelson said. “We’re in a more faculty-driven academic practice.”
The facility was adapted into its current state, with about a year total including planning and the renovation process.
This clinic cost about $5 million in acquisitions and renovation for the facility, Michael Patriarca, School of Medicine Executive Vice Dean and senior associate vice president for the division of health affairs. School of Medicine faculty are also providing patient care as healthcare providers to the community directly. This is the “clinical presence” of the school with education and research being the other two goals of the institution, he said.
“We want to have a presence really across the Valley… Hidalgo and Cameron counties, there is not only a growing population but a growing need for healthcare,” Patriarca said.
With one facility that covers multiple aspects of healthcare needs, this highlights that need in the area, he said. Healthcare accessibility, patient care and education are all part of the institution’s needs, which this facility would also bring.
“As these future providers come through the medical school and one of our residency programs, having these clinical sites allows us to keep them in the Valley and … practicing as physicians,” Patriarca said.
This can be the “next step” in having those who train in the area, who may also practice in the future as professionals in the Valley, he said.
Rooms include radiology, audiology, procedure, surgery, optical and family exams among others for medical services.
This clinic also offers more accessibility to health care, which Nelson stressed.
“There is such a need, there is more need than even we can fill in the Valley,” she said.