|EDINBURG, August 20 - Doctors Hospital at Renaissance looks set to secure $2.5 million in tax credits from the state Comptroller’s Office due to its latest expansion plans.
The physician-owned hospital, which is morphing into a health system, is investing $206 million in new capital investment and creating 530 new jobs. Because of this DHR qualifies for a “Double Jumbo” designation under the Texas Enterprise Zone incentives program.
A “Double Jumbo” designation can be awarded to companies that pump between $150 million and $249 million in capital investment and create 500 jobs. The maximum refund in tax credits per job is $5,000.
“The Texas Enterprise Zone program is a great tool the Texas Legislature has created to make sure businesses invest in their community and help grow their businesses,” said Doctors Hospital at Renaissance CEO Israel Rocha.
Rocha and Sofia Hernandez, DHR’s vice president for governmental affairs, made a power point presentation about the hospital’s expansion plans at a meeting of Edinburg City Council on Tuesday evening. The city council will be the sponsor that submits an application for “Double Jumbo” designation.
The 530 new jobs being created as a result of the $206 million capital investment will result in $125 million in salaries per year, Rocha told city councilmembers.
The power point presentation made to Edinburg city councilmembers referenced these 2014 projects at DHR: the creation of a Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, a Urology Institute, the Joslin Diabetes Center, an expansion of the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, an outpatient surgery center, a hotel, a DHR university and an IT building.
The power point presentation made to Edinburg city councilmembers referenced these 2015 projects at DHR: a Geriatric Surgery Center, an Orthopedic Institute, an application to expand the number of beds at the hospital, and the seeking of a higher level Trauma Center status.
Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia said DHR is one of the “crown jewels” of the city of Edinburg. Spread over 80 acres at the southern end of the city, DHR is a 530-licensed bed facility with 60 specialties and sub-specialties and 620 practicing physicians. It treats over 236,000 patients annually and delivers around 800 babies per month. It has 3,755 employees with an average salary of $24 an hour. Its internal minimum wage is set at $11 per hour. It generates $180 million a year and according to a study by UTPA, it has created a billion dollars in economic activity in the community over past three years.
“We have a great working relationship with the City of Edinburg and happy to be part of the community,” Rocha told city councilmembers.
In an interview with the Guardian after the power presentation, Rocha said that at some point in the near future DHR would qualify for a “Triple Jumbo” designation, as its expansion plans progress. A “Triple Jumbo” designation, the highest awarded by the State of Texas, goes to businesses that invest more than $250 million and create more than 500 new jobs. The maximum refund in tax abatements for a “Triple Jumbo” designation is $3.75 million and the maximum refund per job is $7,500.
Some of the expansion at DHR is due to affiliations with prestigious health institutions in other parts of the country, such as Cleveland Clinic's Bariatric and Metabolic Institute and Joslin Diabetic Center being developed with Harvard Medical School. Rocha said the general public would get the opportunity to tour these new clinics in the near future. “We just broke ground on new outpatient service center. We want the community to see our new service lines,” he said.
Rocha said expansion of DHR’s inpatient facility requires approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The other new projects have already received approval. “Health care is a very regulated industry but fortunately have the support of the legislature and the state,” Rocha said.
Asked how many new beds would be created as a result of the expansion plans, Rocha said: “A considerable amount.”
Asked if DHR’s expansion plans are a direct consequence of the Rio Grande Valley’s growth, Rocha said: “The entire community is growing and, thankfully, the demand for more healthcare services in our community are now being met. We are maturing and bringing in new industries and new technologies, from research and development to healthcare modernization. Our growth is a sign of that. The seeds are being planted today for the sort of health care services you see in places like Houston.”
Another new project is a “university” for DHR staff to receive additional training. A hotel is also in the works, Rocha said, but that may not materialize until the next year window.
Hernandez, DHR’s VP for governmental affairs said the Texas Enterprise Zone program provides greater incentives for higher end jobs. “We are creating a lot of jobs at the higher end, for our residency program, more faculty, more physicians,” Hernandez said.