(Austin, TX) – Central Health, Travis County’s healthcare district, is buying 10-acres of undeveloped land in the Greater Hornsby Bend area to build a new health and wellness center to serve Eastern Travis County residents with low income.
The property is located in an eastern portion of unincorporated Travis County, on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Sandifer Streets next to Dailey Middle School (Del Valle ISD). The purchase price is $770,000, the fair market value as determined by an independent appraiser.
The Travis County Commissioners Court approved the land purchase Tuesday, July 23. State law requires Travis County Commissioners approve all Central Health land acquisitions; the Central Health Board of Managers previously approved the purchase. Funds for the purchase are included in Central Health’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget and support the healthcare district’s multi-year strategy to expand care in underserved areas east of downtown Austin.
“This would not have happened without the support, input and guidance of community members who live in Austin’s Colony and Hornsby Bend,” Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin said. “We’re especially grateful to the Dailey family, longtime residents of the area, for sharing our vision for expanding health care services in their community, and selling us the land for a new clinic.”
The health center will be operated by Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers, a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers with 25 locations throughout Travis County. While there is no set timeline for the clinic opening, the planning process will involve extensive community engagement and site planning work.
By 2022, it is projected that 476 families in poverty will live in the Greater Hornsby Bend area – about 17% of the population, compared to the 12% county-wide average. A family living in poverty is defined as two or more people in the same household with total income below the poverty threshold. In 2019, for a family of two that is $15,569. For four people, the threshold is $24,563.
“Buying this property represents a significant milestone in Central Health’s ongoing efforts to bring more health services to Eastern Travis County communities like Austin’s Colony/Greater Hornsby Bend,” Central Health Board Chair Dr. Guadalupe Zamora said. “This isn’t the only area in need, or the only area we’re focused on helping, but our neighbors in this area have been waiting a long time for services and I’m really pleased we’re moving this project forward with the support of our community partners, CommUnityCare, and Travis County Commissioners.”
While a permanent clinic is being planned and built, Central Health is buying a 1,200 square-foot, preconstructed modular clinic that will be placed next to Travis County Emergency Service District 4 at 14312 Hunters Bend Road. The clinic, which is expected to open this fall, will feature three exam rooms and offer primary care, chronic disease management, vaccines, on-site lab, limited pharmacy services, and a flexible space for behavioral health services and enrolling people in health coverage.
Earlier this year, CommUnityCare began a medical house call pilot project in the Austin’s Colony/Hornsby Bend area. A family nurse practitioner and bilingual medical assistant visit homes to care for people with acute illnesses like colds and flu, help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and dispense medication. Home visits are available by appointment Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call 512-978-8881 to make an appointment.
“There’s no simple solution to connecting people to care,” said CommUnityCare CEO Dr. Jaeson Fournier. “It truly takes a comprehensive, innovative approach. Across Travis County, but specifically in the eastern parts, we’re sending medical teams to peoples’ homes, deploying a mobile unit to neighborhoods, and now opening new clinics to try and reach as many people as possible.”