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Big Bend area hospital announces Nov. 30 opening date for new Presidio clinic

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Carlos Morales
/
Marfa Public Radio
A view of Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine, Texas in 2020.

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The primary hospital for much of the Big Bend region has announced a Nov. 30 opening date for its new clinic in Presidio, which will offer a range of health services currently in short supply for residents of the West Texas border town.

The clinic, operated by Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine, will be called the Big Bend Regional Health Clinic and will be located at 602 W. O’Reilly St. in Presidio, across the street from Presidio City Hall.

A hospital spokesperson said the clinic will be staffed by one doctor, David Sanchez, and family nurse practitioner Bob Rice. The clinic will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In a statement, the hospital’s CEO Rick Flores said the clinic’s opening marks a “new era” in health care for the region.

“Enhanced access to high-quality health care in Presidio represents a significant milestone,” he said.

Hospital representatives, local officials and others involved in the effort to establish the new clinic are planning a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 29.

The clinic’s health offerings will include obstetrics care, a sorely needed resource in an area where many kinds of reproductive care are in short supply.

The hospital in Alpine has faced its own hurdles providing maternal care in recent years. In 2021, staffing shortages led to the hospital routinely shutting down its maternity ward, as the Big Bend Sentinel reported at the time.

Presidio’s new clinic comes amid a broader push, led in part by the Big Bend Regional Hospital District, to expand maternal care resources in the region. (The district is a separate entity from the hospital that was established to provide health care to low-income and indigent people in the area.)

As part of that effort, another Presidio clinic run by Preventative Health Care Services - which already offers obstetrics care - began expanding its hours in September. The effort has also included plans for a new anti-abortion pregnancy center in Presidio, which has prompted criticism from local abortion rights advocates.

J.D. Newsom, the hospital district’s executive director, said in a recent interview that the entities involved in establishing what has been dubbed the “Big Bend Maternal Care Network” would continue seeking grant funding after being initially rejected for a federal grant in October.

“There’s definitely a gap in services for a lot of our communities,” he said. “So we’re not giving up on looking for some funding to increase access to maternal health care.”

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.