Construction of new Central Health clinics to begin soon in eastern Travis County

Photo by Gabriel C. Perez/KUT. A temporary Community Health Center opened in a modular home in Hornsby Bend in 2020. Construction of a permanent facility will begin soon.

Friday, March 18, 2022 by Marisa Charpentier, KUT

Construction will begin soon on two new health centers in eastern Travis County aimed at expanding access to underserved communities.

Central Health, Travis County’s health care district, is building health centers in Del Valle and Hornsby Bend. The centers, which are expected to open next year, are part of the agency’s plan to address health care inequities in the county.

“Eastern Travis County has always been one of the most underserved areas in our county,” Dr. Charles E. Bell, chairman of the Central Health Board of Managers, said at a press conference Thursday. “The communities of Del Valle and Hornsby Bend are burdened with more disease and lower incomes than Travis County as a whole.”

Central Health has temporary health centers in Del Valle and Hornsby Bend, but the new, larger facilities will replace them.

The Hornsby Bend Health and Wellness Center will be located across from Dailey Middle School at 3700 Gilbert Road and will provide primary care, integrated behavioral health care and some specialist care services. It will also have a community gathering space, with a community hall, play areas and green space.

The Del Valle Health and Wellness Center will be located at 7050 Elroy Road near Popham Elementary School. It will provide primary care, dental care, integrated mental health services and a pharmacy.

Central Health is hosting groundbreaking events over the next two weeks, featuring music, barbecues and kids’ activities. The Hornsby Bend event will take place March 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Dailey Middle School. The Del Valle event will take place on April 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 7050 Elroy Road.

Central Health collects property taxes to connect the county’s low-income and uninsured residents to health care. Residents have long been to call the public agency for improving access to health care in Eastern Travis County. This area has higher disease rates than other parts of the county and many residents have low incomes. About 21% of Hornsby Bend households and 36% of Del Valle households fall below 200% of the federal poverty line, according to a demographic report by Central Health. That’s higher than the rate for Travis County as a whole: about 14 percent.

East Travis County lacks many of the resources available in Austin, such as large grocery stores and health care facilities. The Covid-19 pandemic only amplified this iniquity. The virus disproportionately affected black and Latino communities east of Interstate 35. But when vaccines were first introduced, most clinics the bidders were located west of the highway.

“Central Health has promised residents better access to general health care, mental and behavioral health services and dental care and we are delivering on that promise,” Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin said Thursday. , in a press release. “This is just the beginning – we are identifying gaps in our health care delivery system and developing solutions to close those gaps.

Central Health is also considering opening a third permanent health clinic in eastern Travis County at Colony Park, but breakthrough plans have yet to be announced.

This story was produced as part of the austin monitorreporting partnership with KUT.

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