By: Beau Boughamer
The Brownsville Herald covered the groundbreaking for a new Brownsville Community Health Center location that’s expected to accommodate double the current number of patient visits — within five years.
Paula Gomez had been waiting a long time. After 26 years working with the Brownsville Community Health Center, Gomez watched as shovels plunged into a vacant field on Friday morning, commemorating the groundbreaking of the center’s new state-of-the-art clinic on East Price Road.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Gomez, the executive director of the health center. “It’s a little scary, because we don’t know what the future holds. But we know that this is going to be a first-class facility.”
BCHC was founded more than 60 years ago, with a mission of providing quality health care to the local population. In 1977 BCHC became a Federally Qualified Health Center, meaning the center will not turn away patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Speakers at the groundbreaking had numerous examples of what the health center has meant for the community. Diabetic patients who couldn’t afford to pay for emergency room visits were able to get the treatment they needed at the clinic. Physicians have been able to treat people who live in colonias, where sewage systems have sometimes caused an increase in gastro-intestinal problems. The clinics also offer preventative care, with regular doctor-patient relationships that help manage ailments before they get out of control.
- Current users: 17,000 people a year
- Within 5 years: 40,000 people a year
- Current visits per year: 75,000
- Within 5 years visits per year: 150,000