BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A state code administered by Texas Health & Human Services states that “all buildings where inpatients receive hospital services are within a 30-mile radius of the applicant’s primary address.”
When planning to build a general hospital in Brownsville, DHR Health had to get a waiver from that state code.
The reason for this is that the planned Brownsville facility would have been 47.14 miles as the crow flies from DHR Health’s primary address in Edinburgh.
Corresponding to the state, DHR said, “Granting the waiver will not prejudice the health and safety of hospital patients, employees or the general public, or the hospital’s participation in the federal Medicare program.”
Additionally, DHR said, “Granting the requested waiver would facilitate the establishment and operation of the hospital and would be appropriate when balanced with the best interests of the people to be served by the hospital. Conversely, failure to grant the waiver could place an unreasonable inconvenience on the hospital in providing adequate patient care, creating potential federal regulatory problems.
In its letter to Texas Health & Human Services, DHR said it plans to include DHR Health Brownsville under its existing license to avoid potential federal regulatory issues due to DHR Health’s status as a physician-owned hospital.
In the letter, DHR said that DHR Health Brownsville “will comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances relating to hospital health and safety standards, including, but not limited to, conditions Medicare participation, state and local fire code standards and Texas hospital licensing rules. We are not asking for any derogation from rules relating to the health and safety of patients, staff or the general public.”
DHR claimed to operate to the highest quality standards. “Our inpatient hospital facilities are accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC) and must meet the most rigorous performance standards.”
“DHR has stated that DHR Health Brownsville will be “fully integrated into the DHR health care system,” including requiring DHR Health Brownsville to receive accreditation from the TJC and be subject to “the same quality standards that currently govern our hospital facilities and applied through our integrated quality assurance team.”
DHR said DHR Health Brownsville will be operated as a general hospital with 39 single-occupancy medical/surgical inpatient beds (59 double-occupancy) and the capabilities and resources to provide needed care to the general public, including regular maintenance , as a minimum: clinical laboratory services, radiographic diagnostic services, nursing facilities, including surgery, a basic 24-hour emergency department, 3-bed intensive care unit, and 7 nursing stations with 24-hour nursing care 24.
DHR said DHR Health Brownsville will offer the following services:
|Family Practice Internal Medicine Endocrinology Neurology
Pathology Anesthesiology Emergency medicine
Gynecology Oncology General Surgery Gastroenterology
Cardiology Bariatric Surgery
DHR said the DHR Health Brownsville facility would be able to provide additional capacity during a public health emergency. In the event of a surge in COVID-19 or a future infectious disease outbreak/pandemic, DHR Health Brownsville could be rapidly converted for increased capacity, DHR said. “The facility can be converted overnight to double occupancy and can function as an independent, isolated and dedicated infectious disease hospital.”
DHR said the DHR Health Brownsville facility will comply with all applicable multiple hospital requirements, except to be within 30 miles of the primary address.
“DHR Health Brownsville will be fully integrated into the DHR Health organization and governance structure unless otherwise required by law or regulation. DHR Health currently operates four hospital settings under this model (General Acute Care Hospital, Rehabilitation Hospital, Women’s Hospital and Behavioral Hospital). DHR Health Brownsville will be integrated into the unified DHR Health system and managed in the same manner as all four of our current hospital facilities.”
In its letter to the state, DHR also said granting the waiver will increase access for Brownsville residents to the most advanced health care services available in the Rio Grande Valley.
“Patients at DHR Health Brownsville will receive excellent care delivered to the highest quality standards. However, if a patient requires a higher level of care than can be provided at DHR Health Brownsville, through patient referral, the patient will have direct access to DHR Health’s broad offering of advanced services.
“With more than 70 specialties and subspecialties and more than 600 physicians on our medical staff required to respond to emergency calls, DHR Health has the most on-call 24-hour coverage of any hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. DHR Health has continuously invested in expanding the availability of advanced technologies and treatments.”
DHR has listed these examples of the services it provides:
- The region’s first and only Level I comprehensive trauma facility with the highest level of orthopedic trauma coverage with the only orthopedic traumatologist in the Valley;
- the most comprehensive neurological services, including neuro-intervention, 3 full-time neurosurgeons, a dedicated neurological intensive care unit (ICU) and the first and alone Comprehensive stroke center certified by The Joint Commission in the RGV;
- the only kidney transplant program in the Rio Grande Valley;
- the only structural core program in the area; and
- the broadest coverage of any hospital in the region for ear, nose and throat (ENT), oral-maxifacial (OMF), and ophthalmology services, to name a few.
Editor’s note: The above news story is the sixth in a series of articles about the expansion of DHR Health in Brownsville. Click here to read the first. Click here to read the second one. Click here to read the third. Click here to read the fourth. Click here to read the fifth.
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