LULING and AUSTIN, Texas – (May 17, 2013) – Ascension Seton’s strategy to expand primary care in Central Texas led this past week to the opening of two new medical clinics, in Luling and in northwest Austin.
And more new clinics are coming in an effort to get more patients – particularly the un- and underinsured – out of more costly Ascension Seton emergency rooms and into doctor’s offices before their ailments worsen.
On May 15, the new Ascension Seton Luling Family Medicine Clinic officially opened on the campus of Ascension Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital to serve the community and surrounding areas in Caldwell and neighboring counties. It offers adults and children primary family care; physical exams; sports exams; well-woman annual exams; diabetes care and prevention; blood pressure and cholesterol management; and disease management.
On May 10, Ascension Seton joined Lone Star Circle of Care in opening a multi-service clinic in the Health Plaza connected to Ascension Seton Northwest Hospital. Victoria Butler, Lone Star’s medical director of pediatrics and quality and safety, said at full capacity the clinic will be able to see 8,000 patients and schedule 40,000 visits a year. The clinic operates on two floors with obstetrics/gynecology, behavioral health and family medicine services.
“You really are on the front lines of changing health care,” observed Greg Hartman, president and CEO of Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin and University Medical Center Brackenridge, at the Ascension Seton Northwest event. “This is where health care reform is happening, in these kinds of places. This is what it’s all about.”
Hartman said the partnership with Lone Star and the new clinic represents a new, best way of taking care of people “at the right place, at the right time, for the right cost and with the best outcomes.
“I think you’re going to see this throughout the community as we really rethink the health care model. The great thing from Ascension Seton’s perspective is getting to work with Lone Star Circle of Care. I don’t think that I’ve worked with any other health care organization that is as entrepreneurial as the Lone Star Circle of Care. We really need that in health care,” Hartman said.
U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Austin, also spoke at the Lone Star event, noting, “As we look at Obamacare coming down the pike, fully enforced by 2014, this is sort of an alternative model and innovative approach that can drive down the cost of health care and, at the same time, it’s treating the indigent and more vulnerable people in our society with primary care and keeping them out of the emergency rooms – like at Ascension Seton, where the cost is a lot greater.”
On Tuesday, Neal Kelley, Ascension Seton Edgar B. Davis’ vice president and chief operating officer, was joined by two Daughters of Charity – Sister Helen Brewer, vice chair of Ascension Seton’s Board of Directors, and Sister Catherine Brown – as well as Luling Mayor Mike Hendricks and about 50 other local civic leaders.
Luling clinic operations will be led by Mara Tittler, an advanced practice nurse who will be working with Ascension Seton doctors. Tittler, who speaks fluent Spanish, earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing science at Columbia University’s School of Nursing in New York.
Before coming to Luling, she was a family nurse practitioner at the Institute for Family Health in New York and a staff nurse at Roosevelt Hospital in New York.
Ascension Seton Edgar B. Davis is the only general acute care hospital in Caldwell County, offering 24-hour emergency care, comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services, health education and wellness programs. In October, it was named one of the top 20 rural hospitals in the U.S. by the National Rural Health Association based on a “quality index” rating of hospital performance in five categories of patient care.