South Padre to have hospital, medical center

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Residents and visitors of this coastal area will soon have closer access to hospital and medical center health care.

During a City Council meeting Wednesday, South Padre Island EMS medical director Dr. Joe Ybarra gave an update regarding future medical provisions for the city.

Ybarra, along with Chris Adams, an associate of Sam Wilkinson, announced that a hospital and medical center will be built on the Island and is estimated to open in March of 2021.

“We’re building a hospital. It’s going to happen,” Ybarra said. “We’ve launched. We have funding. We have a site purchased already.”

According to Ybarra and Adams, it will be a privately funded facility that will not see any financial support from the city.

“We believe it is economically feasible. We’re going with a small micro-hospital,” Adams said. “One that’s extremely efficient with very little wasted space and will be able to use some of the expertise Joe and his team have.”

As a resident of the Island since the early 90s and a doctor who has worked at most of the Valley’s hospitals, Ybarra said he’s always thought about why the Island doesn’t have a full medical facility with board certified physicians.

“Now we’re going to do that and we’re going to use the science of micro-hospitals, which is an efficient form of hospital, but not with wasted space,” Ybarra said. “So everything is going to be very efficient.”

The facility will be located across the street from the city’s fire department and is going to be about 12,000 square feet with a full-service emergency room and eight to nine beds.

It will be a one-level facility, but will be capable of housing a second floor later on if needed.

“We’re going to have specialists that actually have second homes on the Island — cardiologists, surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, GI doctors,” Ybarra said. “They’re all going to be a part of our staff so that we can service patients on the Island.”

Ybarra said more serious cases, such as heart attacks that require a cath lab or surgical suite will still go to the other hospitals and will be protocol-driven.

“We’re translating all of the science of free-standing ERs and micro-hospitals into our facility so that it can be a place where not only sick people and injured people can come, but sort of a stimulus for health care, for a healthy community,” Ybarra said. “We want to promote lifestyle changes that will help live a longer life.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital and medical center is estimated to be held in the summer.

“This is happening,” Adams said. “We’re definitely ahead of schedule and we’re very excited about that.”

Ybarra and Adams said the plan is to create a facility that is aligned with what the city needs and wants and is seeking input from the public on its website

“What we’d like to be able to do is to provide the highest level of service and medical care that we possibly can within this vicinity,” Adams said. “We really feel like it’s going to be a city asset to not only bring economic development here, but keep people here as longer-term residents and bring a higher economic development in this city.”