LYFORD — For decades, residents in this farming town have traveled to Raymondville and Harlingen for medical care.
And for many without cars, getting a ride for treatment can be tough.
Now, medical care is finally coming to the area.
At City Hall, officials are using a $500,000 grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture to build a 2,500-square-foot community clinic offering primary health care.
“It’s a blessing,” Mayor Wally Solis said yesterday. “It’s critical that Lyford has this clinic. There are so many residents who don’t have the transportation to get to Raymondville.”
As part of the project, the city’s Economic Development Corporation is donating two acres at FM 498 and Interstate 69 to serve as the clinic’s site, offering easy access for residents across much of southern Willacy County.
Meanwhile, the clinic will open about 13 jobs, City Commissioner Rick Salinas said.
“That’s definitely significant employment positions for Willacy,” he said.
Sanchez to run clinic
To operate the clinic, officials have selected Dr. Mario Sanchez, who operates clinics in Raymondville and La Feria.
Under an agreement, Sanchez, who’s committed to operate the clinic for 10 years, will lease the building from the city.
Solis said officials have yet to set the rental fee.
Since 1999, Sanchez has drawn many area residents to his Raymondville clinic.
About 30 years ago, he opened his clinic in La Feria.
Now, about 180 residents from the Lyford and Sebastian areas are traveling to Sanchez’s Raymondville clinic for treatment, Salinas said.
About a year ago, Salinas said he turned to Sanchez’s health care.
“I’ve seen his practice,” Salinas said. “His credentials go way back. He’s started offices in La Feria and moved on to open an office in Raymondville. The people working for him are very cordial. The luxury is he has his own lab and X-ray machine so you don’t have to be referred to another office.”
Primary health care
Soon, Sanchez will become the first doctor to serve this town with a population of about 2,500.
“The area is underserved,” he said from his La Feria clinic. “We’ll be seeing people from Sebastian and the surrounding area.”
Sanchez said the clinic will offer primary health care in the area in which many residents suffer from such conditions as diabetes and hypertension.
“We’re going to be doing minor surgery and preventive care,” he said. “I expect to be busy. In small towns you see a lot of things that should go straight to the emergency room.”
The clinic’s location will also draw residents from north of town.
“The fact we’re close to the freeway means people will probably stop by before they go to the hospital,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez expects construction to be completed within 10 months.