Health clinic to open in Laguna Vista

LAGUNA VISTA — A health clinic is on the horizon for the town of Laguna Vista.

The University of Texas Health Rio Grande Valley has committed to opening and operating a health clinic for a minimum of five years.

By summer, a new health clinic will be open across from City Hall giving residents easy access to health care.

Last week, city officials and UTHRGV members made the partnership official and signed an agreement.

John Krause is the dean of the School of Medicine and said the opening of the new clinic is one of many UTRGV clinics that will be opening across the Valley this year.

Currently, there are five clinics in partnership with UTRGV, most of which are located in the upper part of the Valley.

“Our mission is to provide access to thorough health care throughout the Valley,” Krause said.

While the partnership has been a year in the making, Mayor Susie Houston said the need for and the effort to bring in a health clinic for residents has been years in the making.

“It has been something that many people have been working on for many years,” Houston said.

A family health clinic was in operation about five years ago where the new clinic is set to be located.

Houston said the physician decided to relocate to El Paso and the city has been looking to replace the clinic ever since.

The nearest health clinic with a physician on staff is located in Brownsville with two other clinics located in Port Isabel.

Laguna Vista City Manager Rolando Vela said the addition of a health clinic will be beneficial to the town that has a large population of retirees.

“Having a clinic in the center of town is monumentally huge for our community and for the communities in the Laguna Madre area, including Los Fresnos, Bayview and Indian Lake,” Vela said.

According to the agreement, the CDC committed to reimbursing the leasing and renovation fees of up to $125,000 to UTHRGV to operate the primary care family health clinic.

For the first three years of operation, the Community Development Corporation will cover leasing and modifications to the building.

Any remaining funds from the $125,000 grant will go toward leasing for the last two years.

The clinic will employ at least three full-time staff with one family practitioner nurse, one medical assistant and one patients services representative.

At least one physician will be available for no less than four hours a week.

Houston expects the operation of a family health clinic in the center of town to create a boom for Laguna Vista.

“People like to move where there is good health care,” Houston said. “It’s great for all of these communities in this part of Cameron County.”

The agreement with UTHRGV commits both parties to a minimum of five years but Houston said the school has shown interest in keeping the clinic open for longer than that.

“They’ve been fabulous,” Houston said. “They know what they’re doing and it was all very well organized.”

The clinic is set to open up to the public in June.

The agreement

• UTRGV commits to maintaining the health clinic for a minimum of five years

• The Community Development Corporation will reimburse UTRGV the sum of $6,000 quarterly during the first year and $7,500 during the second and third year

• CDC commits $41,000 to offsetting cost of improvements to the clinic

• Cost of the grant will not exceed $125,000

• Remaining funds will be applied to the lease amounts for year four and five