You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Southeast Austin health clinic opens, with a focus on wellness


Visitors pass a vegetable, herb and flower garden and enter a sleek, modern lobby lit by clear globes hanging from the ceiling and sunshine streaming through doors and windows. Bright, photographic murals adorn the walls, depicting scenes from nearby neighborhoods. It’s clear this isn’t your typical public health clinic.

Central Health officials say their newest clinic — which includes the education garden out front, a kitchen for cooking classes, a large meeting room for the public, free exercise classes and a kids’ playscape — is the one-stop shop residents asked for, not just for treating the sick but for keeping folks healthy.

But you can see for yourself. On Saturday, there will be an open house with music and food, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Southeast Health and Wellness Center, 2901 Montopolis Drive.

After opening in October 2014 upon completion of its first phase, the center is now twice as big and fully built-out, with nearly 74,000 square feet of clinic and community space. A budget of $27.7 million covered the land and renovation costs, including new square footage for mechanical equipment.

“What’s so good about it is I can get everything I need in one place,” said Carlos Palacios, who is 57 and receives primary care, help with depression, specialty care for diabetes and dental services at the center.

“I got my teeth here,” he said, showing off new dentures. “I can eat solid food again. … Everybody has treated me so nice here.”

Dr. Susan Dubois, an endocrinologist who treats diabetics, said she has worked for Central Health’s affiliated CommUnityCare clinics since 2009 and is thrilled to be at the Southeast center. “This is fabulous, a dream come true,” she said.

Patients can access on-site imaging services, including mammograms, as well as a pharmacy, laboratory, hearing tests and pregnancy education as well as classes for learning how to cook healthy meals, grow food and manage diabetes with the aid of nutritionists. They can get same-day appointments when they’re sick and don’t have to travel to other sign-up locations if they become eligible for a different kind of coverage, Dubois said.

Ofelia Zapata, a board member with Austin Interfaith, said she started pressing for a comprehensive health center in her Dove Springs neighborhood in the 1990s. After voters created Central Health in 2004, officials there responded to Zapata and others by opening an urgent care center on William Cannon Drive in 2009. That was “a Band-Aid,” Zapata said.

A fight ensued, she said, and now she’s elated. Although the new facility isn’t in Dove Springs, it’s close by, she said.

“We are finally getting that holistic health care facility we wanted,” Zapata said. “I’m in awe about it. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful.”

Officials expect 80,000 patient visits this year, mainly from low-income or uninsured residents of Dove Springs, Montopolis and Del Valle.

University of Texas Dell Medical School students and new doctors will train at the center on ways to better coordinate care and make it more cost-efficient.

Once the home of a veterans’ clinic, Central Health bought the property in 2011 for $8 million, estimating renovation costs at $2 million. Officials later learned they had to gut the building, dramatically raising the cost.

It is now CommUnityCare’s largest facility, with 45,000 square feet of clinical space and the rest for other services, including the Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, nutrition program.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

CAREFUL WITH SCAMS: IRS warns of summertime tax schemes
CAREFUL WITH SCAMS: IRS warns of summertime tax schemes

Even though tax season has ended for most taxpayers, the IRS said in a press release Monday that tax-related scams continue across the nation. “We continue to urge people to watch out for new and evolving schemes this summer,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in the release. “Many of these are variations of a theme, involving fictitious...
Austin school board calls for $1.05 billion November bond package
Austin school board calls for $1.05 billion November bond package

The Austin school board Monday night called for a $1.05 billion bond package to be placed before voters in November. The bond projects, rolled into one proposition, total $1.13 billion, but trustees plan to apply $83.8 million in projected leftover bond funds and possible land sales of East Austin schools to reduce the total package amount. Despite...
Austin, other cities spar with state, DOJ in ‘sanctuary cities’ hearing
Austin, other cities spar with state, DOJ in ‘sanctuary cities’ hearing

Lawyers from numerous Texas cities sparred with the state and the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday in the first hearing in their attempts to upend Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities ban, before it can be implemented. The hearing, held in a federal courtroom in San Antonio, brought forward many previously filed arguments, claiming that...
Arkansas ruling could affect Texas gay marriage benefits case
Arkansas ruling could affect Texas gay marriage benefits case

Arkansas cannot exclude the names of same-sex spouses from their children’s birth certificates, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in a case that gay marriage advocates said should be a wake-up call for the Texas Supreme Court. Texas’ highest civil court is preparing to rule on a challenge by opponents of gay marriage who want to stop...
Austin kidnap suspect foiled by Facebook, caught at Iron Maiden show
Austin kidnap suspect foiled by Facebook, caught at Iron Maiden show

If you’re going to listen to Iron Maiden’s advice and “Run to the Hills” to avoid police, just don’t post it on Facebook. An Austin man who was wanted by police on a kidnapping charge got caught by the Bexar County sheriff’s office Saturday at an Iron Maiden concert in San Antonio after a friend of his posted images...
More Stories