Baylor Scott & White may bring health-care options to Spicewood area


A clinic or other medical facility could be in store for ‘underserved’ area west of Austin.

A health-care facility, if one is built, would be part of Thomas Ranch, a proposed 2,200-acre development.

Baylor Scott & White Health is considering bringing health-care services to the Spicewood area west of Austin.

Baylor Scott & White Health officials and Thomas Ranch Development Interests announced a partnership this week that could bring a clinic or other health-care facility to Thomas Ranch, a proposed 2,200-acre master-planned community to be built off Texas 71 and Paleface Ranch Road.

The proposed development, which straddles western Travis County and eastern Burnet County, is one of the largest master-planned communities announced in recent years for Central Texas.

Over time, the project could have 3,300 homes and apartments, plus shops, restaurants and a resort hotel and spa.

Currently, the Spicewood area is designated as “medically underserved” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A review of the area’s current and future medical requirements is now under way, which could result in a Baylor Scott & White Health clinic as soon as 2018 or 2019, said Tim Ols, president of Baylor Scott & White Health’s Hill Country region. More details will be made available after the review is completed, he said.

“We are excited about opportunity to provide medical services in the Thomas Ranch development,” Ols said in a written statement to the American-Statesman. “We have began discussions with the developer to determine what type of facility and services will meet this community’s needs.”

The goal of the partnership is to bring “comprehensive health care” to Spicewood-area residents, according to a news release. Other than stating that the partnership could result in a clinic, Baylor Scott & White Health officials did not elaborate on the kind of facility they might build, including its size, scope or estimated cost.

“We are excited to partner with Baylor Scott & White Health, one of the highest quality and most trusted health-care systems in Texas,” said Ralph Thomas, who owns the 2,200 acres where Thomas Ranch is planned. “I have been carefully formulating my thoughts for this property, and this partnership is an important step forward as Baylor Scott & White Health is also firmly committed to serving the area. As the development progresses, additional strategic partnerships will be announced that will help meet the needs of the growing Spicewood community.”

Construction on Thomas Ranch’s first homes is expected to start in 2019, and it could take 15 to 20 years to complete the entire $150 million project. Thomas said development partners will be selected in the near future.

Ols said Baylor Scott & White Health is “honored to have been selected by Thomas Ranch as the medical provider of choice for residents in the Spicewood area. Mr. Thomas recognized the needs of this community and has put the interests of Spicewood-area residents at the forefront of his planning. This is an exciting opportunity for the community and for Baylor Scott & White.”

The Travis County Commissioners Court in February approved plans for developing Thomas Ranch. The project will also require approvals from Burnet County.

Thomas Ranch will include trails that will link neighborhoods, provide access to Lake Travis and connect amenities, such as a Baylor Scott & White Health care facility.

The Thomas Ranch Town Square will be the social and commercial hub of the community. In addition to a possible clinic, it will include shops, restaurants and possibly office buildings, as well as open space for recreation and community events.

Since forming from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, Baylor Scott & White Health has expanded its presence amid Central Texas’ continued growth. The health-care system now has 23 clinics and four hospitals throughout Travis and Williamson counties.

Last month, Baylor Scott & White officials said they are evaluating turning a former 11-acre golf-driving range site in the Oak Hill area in Southwest Austin into a 50-bed, full-service hospital.

It would be at 5243 U.S. 290, where the Oak Hill Golf Range operated until recently.

In a March article in Community Impact, Austin attorney Henry Gilmore with DuBois, Bryant & Campbell said construction on the hospital could start by the first quarter of next year, with a targeted opening by early 2019.

In May, in a statement emailed to the Statesman, Baylor Scott & White Health said: “Since the project is not final, we’d prefer to share additional details at a later date. We will certainly announce specifics as our plans are confirmed.”

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