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The Big Bend Regional District Seeks Community Input

(photo: Sarah Vasquez/KRTS)

The Big Bend Regional Hospital District (BBRHD) held four meetings in the past three days about a proposed Alpine nursing home and eldercare facility. Last night, intern Sarah Vasquez attended the Marfa meeting at the Presidio County Courthouse.

Last year, the only nursing home in the region closed its doors and the BBRHD looked into what it would take to start another one. People have to currently search as far as El Paso or Odessa for these services. The district has found an option that includes creating a palliative care network.

“Palliative care” is treatment and education that focuses more on the quality of life during someone's end of life or when they are dealing with a serious disease or injury. It focuses less on the actual disease and more on the comfort. Hospice and pain management fall under the palliative care umbrella.

Jim McDonald, a volunteer consultant, said in a meeting he had with Texas Health and Human Services that the state and federal government want to find regional health care initiatives that can help the region and it saves money on medical treatment. Jim said that people who use these services use less medicines and treatment. They see fewer physicians and spend fewer days in a hospital bed.

However, this project is going to cost money.

Jim said that the first phase will cost about five million dollars, with two phases down the line. That figure doesn't include operational costs. But since this is in the very early stage, they're still figuring out funding and how much it'll cost taxpayers. That's why they had the meetings.

The purpose of these meetings was to first, inform the public about the project they have proposed and to get feedback about the public. Unfortunately, the attendance at these meetings were pretty scarce, so they are encouraging people to spread the word about an online survey residents can take to give their input.