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Health Clinics on Wheels, House Calls, and Pre-Fab Buildings: Central Health Expediting Efforts to Deliver More Health Care Services to Eastern Travis County in 2019

(Austin) – Central Health is pursuing multiple options to more quickly bring health care services to Eastern Travis County.

Some of the plans include purchasing a customized bus outfitted with exam rooms, making house calls, and leasing land to set up prefabricated modular clinics.

“All options are on the table,” said Mike Geeslin, Central Health President and CEO. “We committed to the community to pursue a health care delivery strategy that’s focused on the people we serve and the places they live and work. This is a comprehensive strategy – we’re forging partnerships so we can share spaces, sending providers into patients’ homes, and driving mobile exam rooms to nearby community centers.”

When the Central Health Board of Managers adopted the Fiscal Year 2019 budget in September, nearly $3.5 million was included for health care in four Eastern Travis County priority areas: Austin’s Colony/Hornsby Bend, Colony Park, the Del Valle area including Kellam Road and Creedmoor.

In September, Geeslin convened a small task force comprised of staff from Central Health, Central Health Enterprise partner CommUnityCare Health Centers, The University of Texas School of Nursing, and Travis County Emergency Services District (ESD) 11. He challenged the group to look at a variety of service delivery options including:

  • Permanent Clinics. Constructing “bricks and mortar” health centers, or buying modular buildings that can be setup on site.
  • Mobile Clinics. Buying a customized vehicle outfitted with exam rooms and medical equipment that can move to multiple locations every week.
  • Home Visits. Hiring an advanced practice provider, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant to make appointment-based house calls in select areas until a facility is opened.

“CommUnityCare always looks for innovative ways to connect people to care,” said Dr. Jaeson Fournier, CommUnityCare CEO. “We are committed to finding effective solutions that result in meaningful and measurable improvements in the health and well-being of the people we serve, and bringing high quality primary care services to our neighbors. This covers a wide spectrum – from leveraging technology, to providing care within a patient’s home (i.e. house-calls), to using a mobile clinic.”

“The decisions cannot be made in a vacuum,” said Dr. Guadalupe Zamora, Central Health Board Chair. “We rely on residents who live in the area to tell us what type of services they want and need. We’ve heard from some people who are understandably frustrated. They’ve been waiting a long time for basic services – not just health care – and we’re committing to bringing relief and support as quickly as we can.”

The planned locations will address the whole-health needs of the community going beyond clinical services to include behavioral and mental health services provided by Integral Care, and social services that connect families to health coverage, food, housing and emergency assistance programs.

Central Health established Community Advisory Committees in Southeast Travis County (Del Valle area), Northeast Travis County (Colony Park), and Austin’s Colony/Hornsby Bend, which meet regularly to discuss planning, progress and needs. The advisory committees include residents, partners, and providers.

Eastern Travis County Priority Projects 

Creedmoor (Southeast Travis County – Del Valle Area)

Clinic Type: A mobile health clinic, which is a customized bus with two built-in exam rooms and other medical equipment.

Clinic Location: Creedmoor Community Center, 12511 FM 1625, Creedmoor, TX 78610

Services: Primary care, preventive medicine, vaccines, on-site lab, chronic disease management, limited pharmacy. Non-clinic services could include eligibility services provided by Central Health, and transportation services to the clinic site by the Community Care Collaborative, Central Health’s nonprofit partnership with Seton.

Days/Hours of Operation: Two days per week (days to be determined) from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Expected Opening: Late Spring 2019

Kellam Road(Southeast Travis County – Del Valle Area)

Clinic Type: Permanent health and wellness center including clinical services, in partnership with Travis County Emergency Services District (ESD) 11.

Clinic Location: 7300 Kellam Rd, Del Valle, TX 78617

Services: Partners who will operate at this location are determining the scope of services that will be provided at this location, which will be announced soon.

Days/Hours of Operation: To be determined.

Ground Breaking: 2019

Expected Opening: Early 2020

Hornsby Bend/Austin’s Colony (East Travis County)

Clinic Type (Three Phases): During Phase I, CommUnityCare advanced practice providers will provide in-home visits, or house calls. For Phase II, a pre-constructed, 1,000 square foot pre-constructed modular building with three exam rooms will be placed next to the fire station. Long-term plans (Phase III) include construction of a permanent health clinic at a yet to be determined location.

Clinic Location:  Next to Travis County ESD 4 Fire Station, 14312 Hunters Bend Rd., Austin, TX 78723

Services: Home visits, or house calls, will include primary care, preventive medicine, and chronic disease management. When the clinic opens it will offer primary care, preventive medicine, vaccines, on-site lab, chronic disease management, and limited pharmacy. CommUnityCare will work with Integral Care to provide behavioral health services.

Days/Hours of Operation: The clinic is expected to operate three days per week, ramping up to five days per week within six months as demand requires. Home visits will offer a flexible schedule based on need including evening appointments.

Expected Opening: Home visits are planned to begin Spring 2019. The clinic is expected to open in July 2019.

Northeast Travis County (Colony Park)

Clinic Type (Two phases):  Phase I: A mobile health clinic staffed by CommUnityCare will provide services three days a week. Phase II includes a permanent 50 – 75k square foot center. The size will depend on the number of partners and what services are provided.

Clinic Location:  Phase I: The mobile clinic will be parked next to Volma Overton Elementary, 7201 Colony Loop Dr., Austin, TX 78724, and Barbara Jordan Elementary, 6711 Johnny Morris Rd., Austin, TX 78724. The location of the permanent health and wellness center in Colony Park is to be determined.

Services: Phase I services will include primary care, preventive medicine, vaccines, on-site lab and point-of-care testing, chronic disease management. Phase II will include the same services plus dental, mental health and pharmacy services. Non-clinic services would include eligibility services provided by Central Health, transportation services to the clinic site by the Community Care Collaborative, Central Health’s nonprofit partnership with Seton, and more depending on partners.

Days/Hours of Operation:  Phase I mobile clinic will be open three days per week (days to be determined). Phase II hours/days to be determined.

Expected Opening: Phase I mobile clinic by May 2019. Phase II is dependent on land lease negotiations with City of Austin.