Not Just a Name on a Building

Image_2.jpgThe groundbreaking for the Christus Spohn Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center will be held on Monday on the grounds of Christus Spohn Hospital- Memorial. This new facility projected to be dedicated in 2016 represents, in part, the largest financial investment that Christus Spohn Health System has made to any of the communities it serves. Additional plans are to renovate parts of Spohn Shoreline, including the relocation of the Level II Trauma Center from Memorial hospital.

Health care is constantly evolving including the provision of specialized services in one location, improving the timely delivery of services to reduce patient wait times and being more comprehensive to improve patient outcomes.

Hospital corporations must all compete for the available health care dollar and must provide care in state-of-the-art facilities. Providers must also be responsible to every patient not only through the delivery of services, but through education of chronic disease management to prevent constant readmissions to the hospital for the same diagnosis.

Readmissions to hospitals are not only costly but are devastating to the patients and their family members who care for them.

The Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center when opened will serve the Corpus Christi community well. The first primary care facility of its kind, it will house 44,000 square feet of servicesincluding nursing, pharmacy, extended hours, specialty physician services and radiology. A patient will be able to walk up to the facility and see a physician for diagnosis and care. The benefit to the community will be that true emergency room visits will be sent to Spohn Shoreline Emergency Room. Extensive wait times to see a physician because one is not available, will be significantly reduced.

Education of chronic disease management is essential for improved patient outcomes. Patients and their family members must be knowledgeable in every aspect of a condition including blood sugar controls, pain management, the signs of infection and particularly for the patients who have a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, which require comprehensive management.

The new facility will mean more than just having my father’s name on a building. This facility represents probably the greatest honor for Dr. Hector as it recognizes his role as a primary care physician. He was proud of his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He was skilled in caring for his patients at every level; however, he knew when a patient needed more specialized care. He would refer his patients out to his physician colleagues who could provide the specialized services that were needed.

Dr. Hector was well respected in the community for his role as aphysician. He was understanding with his patients, but was also strict in their care. He was many things to many people to include his efforts for veterans, and civil rights for Mexican-Americans. However, his role as a physician was his greatest achievement, caring for tens of thousands of patients including soldiers during World War II in different parts of the world. He successfully navigated through a very difficult educational system to be the only Mexican graduating in his class in 1940. He accomplished his residency in Omaha, Nebraska, when no Texas school would accept him to continue his education.

We can all support this wonderful and timely concept in Nueces County. Improving access to health care, providing timely diagnosis and care for chronic disease management, and ensuring that every patient receives the necessary education in nutrition, exercise, and medication management, these will certainly be the model for the delivery of health care for the next century. Thanks to Christus Spohn Health System for its vision to improve the quality of life for all of us. Dr. Hector P. Garcia would be proud that his patients and their families will receive the best available care that can be provided in a progressive and educational setting.

Cecilia Garcia Akers is a daughter of the late physician, civil rights leader and American GI Forum founder Dr. Hector P. Garcia.

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