The Medical Center Health System is planning two family health clinics, one located in West Odessa and one in northeast Odessa, that officials said would cover a growing need for both pediatric care throughout the county and broader care in West Odessa.
Virgil Trower, an Ector County Health District board member, said Medical Center Hospital already purchased a 4-acre plot on the northwest corner of F.M. 1936 and West University Boulevard for the West Odessa clinic.
“We’re in the design stage,” Trower said of the progress on the West Odessa clinic.
John O’Hearn, the Executive Director of Planning and Development at Medical Center Hospital, said the hospital also recently bought the 1.5-acre plot currently occupied by the former Red Sun China Buffet at 3001 John Ben Shepperd Parkway. The vacant restaurant will be demolished to make way for the clinic.
“Right now, we’re looking at a pretty large clinic — 20,000 square feet, a lot of different specialties — similar to the Family Health Clinic (on Clements Street in Odessa’s south side) we already have,” O’Hearn said of the West Odessa Family Health Clinic.
O’Hearn said the rough schedules call for groundbreaking by this summer and completion by October 2014 for both clinics. The price tag has been estimated at $4 million for the West Odessa clinic and $3 million for the 15,000-square-foot JBS Parkway Primary Care Clinic.
O’Hearn said the hospital saw a need for more pediatric care, one of the services that will be emphasized at both clinics, as it noted the large increase of students added onto the Ector County Independent School District rolls — 2,000 to 3,000 new students just this year.
“A lot of pediatricians’ (practices) are just full,” O’Hearn said. “There’s a need to bring more into the area.”
O’Hearn said both clinics will have a heavy focus on urgent and pediatric care, though they will serve patients of all ages. The larger West Odessa Family Health Clinic will also be staffed with doctors that specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, OB/GYN, optometry and endocrinology.
Though Odessa currently has a few private urgent care clinics, none exist west of Loop 338 in Ector County.
Trower said the new urgent care services would help alleviate some of the emergency room visits that uninsured patients make at MCH, often for illnesses that would typically be handled by a primary care physician rather than the more-intensive ER.
O’Hearn said it was too early in the planning phases for him to determine the number of jobs that would be created by the two clinics. But the need for both clinics was apparent.
“Primary care — that’s the purpose behind these,” O’Hearn said. “We want to make sure we have the infrastructure to take care of everybody.”