PEÑITAS, Texas – Rapid City Healthcare is set to open a clinic and then, most likely, a mini-hospital in Peñitas.

That’s according to Tania Miah, director of operations for the Dallas-based healthcare group. 

Rapid City Healthcare offers urgent and primary care services that include injury and minor trauma treatment, walk-in medical care, lab testing services, telemedicine visits and more.

“In Dallas, we basically help the needy. We serve the under-privileged. Our prices are for the under-privileged. You can come in and get almost emergency care services at a fraction of the cost, with less than an hour’s wait time,” Miah (pictured above) said. “We want to do the same Peñitas.”

Rapid City Healthcare has been in talks with Peñitas city officials for a number of months. The company has already selected a premises in the city from which to run its clinic. The launch date could be as soon as Aug. 1.

Peñitas mayor pro tem Ramiro Loya was elated to hear the news. He told Miah: “Thank you for choosing Peñitas. The people will be really pleased to know this clinic is coming in.”

Asked how Rapid City Healthcare learned about Peñitas, Miah said: 

“We have a friend that runs our lab in Dallas. He hooked us up with someone he was doing Covid testing with down here. We just started talking and we learned that there is a great need down here.”

Miah said no one would really know it but Rapid City Healthcare is already working in the Rio Grande Valley. 

“Our name is not on the project, however, we already have a presence at the border. We are vaccinating people down at the Hidalgo International Bridge. But our name is not publicized. We provide the vaccines.”

Asked what they plan to do for the residents of Peñitas and those living in neighboring communities, Miah said: 

“I was just speaking to my boss. I do see there is a need for x-rays, for example. The folks here are driving too far to get them. But we see a great need and so our immediate thing is the clinic. The bigger project (the mini-hospital) will take at least a year to accomplish.”

Miah said starting the clinic will likely be a soft launch with a minimum of frills.

“We are going to start with very little, just come in and do the basics. See what the real need is. We don’t want to be a competitor to anyone else so we are probably going to do late hours. We are going be open seven days a week but with the later hours. We are going to close at about eight or nine o’clock. If we see we need to be open later, we will do this.”

Miah said she was already taking surveys of what local residents want. She said she was taking the information back to Dallas “to see what we can do immediately, based on what we are credentialed and certified to do. Then we will take to the city manager and city council to see… we have an idea of what we want to do and we will probably go full-fledged (with the mini-hospital).”

Asked what she had found with her market research, Miah noted the contrast between the medical services available in McAllen and those on offer in Sullivan City.

“Driving around the community and seeing… McAllen is in full bloom, with lots of doctors offices. Today we went to Sullivan (City) and hardly anything. Obviously there are people living there, children, geriatric patients, that are under-served. There is definitely a need.”

Miah said she has seen enough in western Hidalgo County to know that healthcare services need to be strengthened. 

“When there is an emergency, where are they going at night? How far are they driving? So, our thing is, we are not forgetting about the little towns. We are going to make our headquarters in Peñitas and put smaller satellite offices in the other smaller areas with rotations a couple of days per week. We are not going to forget about the other smaller towns.”

The good news, Miah said, is that a premises has been found for the clinic.

“We have found a place, which we will rent. We just have to sign the paperwork. Once I go to back to my office I will talk to the state and the city, to see how fast we can start with what little we can start with. We will work up to the rest. We have equipment in Dallas we will bring down. We will immediately start vaccinating against Covid.”

Miah said that because of her upbringing she identifies with small towns like Peñitas.

“I personally grew up in a very small town in New Jersey, which covers only two square miles. I like the small town feel, of knowing the community. So, when the idea was presented to me, I took it to heart. I told the doctor, you like to help the poorer people, the under-privileged. This is the place. So, here we are. Let’s see.”

Miah said she is going to talk to her husband about moving to the Rio Grande Valley to run the clinic.

“This is my second visit. I told my husband, if this thing happens I want to move down here. I love the weather here. Seeing the birds flying around in the winter.”

Mini-hospital


Asked how the discussions about a mini-hospital started, Miah said:

“As we were speaking to the city manager and everybody, we were thinking of a mini-hospital, with 24-hour care, with a possible helipad too. So, if there is something really urgent we can fly them to a center that can really take care of them. But, the least we want to provide is a mini-hospital. If not a mini-hospital then certainly 24-hour urgent care.”

Miah said her boss has all the experience necessary to run a mini-hospital.

“My boss has been an emergency care physician for over 20-plus years. So he has seen everything. He is capable of everything. He is not like a primary care physician or a family care physician, a nine-to-five physician. He has seen a lot. I do have full faith in him. So even if we do a 24-hour urgent care he will do everything possible for that patient not to end up in the emergency room.”

Asked if there was anything else she would like to tell the people of Peñitas, Miah said:

“I hope the community loves us when we come. We can only survive if the community comes and shows us love. We have a vision so let’s see how it goes. We will start small but we have the bigger vision. I want to see this happen.”


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