EDINBURG, RGV – Four new community clinics will be set up within a matter of weeks now that an affiliation agreement has been signed between Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and UT-Health Science Center San Antonio.

Details were announced at a news conference and ceremonial affiliation agreement signing held Friday at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

“We will develop clinics in the next few weeks that will start seeing indigent patients and community patients from all walks of life, insured, uninsured, Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance,” said Israel Rocha, CEO of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, adding that the clinics will bring “new resources in education and medicine to our community.”

Rocha said thanks should go out to Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia for the fact that the community centers are a key component of four new residency programs being developed at DHR. The programs will specialize in family practice, general surgery, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. Garcia said on the front row of the audience at the news conference.

“Judge Garcia said it was really important that it be a truly based community program and bring resources to our community,” Rocha said. “Judge, the program directors are here today to honor your challenge and your call and they will be starting their community centers in a few weeks. The community will start benefitting in a matter of days. We are all very happy to see it. It feels almost unreal and we are very excited.”

Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano, dean of the school of medicine at UT-Health Science Center San Antonio, and Israel Rocha, CEO of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, sign an affiliation agreement.
Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano, dean of the school of medicine at UT-Health Science Center San Antonio, and Israel Rocha, CEO of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, sign an affiliation agreement.

In order to have a medical school, local hospitals have to provide residency programs. It is deemed prerequisite. Rocha started his speech by saying DHR wanted to design four residency programs that were extra special. He said DHR’s mission statement has always been to “bring the best of the world of medicine has to offer, right here to the Rio Grande Valley. To do that in a way that expands healthcare, expands opportunity, and increases the quality of life for everyone in our community and every patient that passes through our door.”

Rocha said the community clinics are just the start of a major commitment DHR is making, in combination with the University of Texas System, to bring “over $60 million in resources for clinics, classrooms, simulation labs, and resources that will bring 78 residents in the first phase over the next five or six years.” He said DHR will provide a new way of delivering medicine and providing resources to South Texas. “And, it is only the beginning. Phase 1 is 78. Over the next few years we hope to have over 200 residents at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.”

Interviewed after the news conference, Rocha gave more details about the community clinics.

“Each one of the residency programs will have a clinic. There will be a general surgery clinic, a family medicine clinic, an internal medicine clinic, and an obstetrics and gynecology clinic. Each one of the physicians and the program directors will be teaching. We have clinics that are open access. It will be a partnership with a hospital, with a county, with a community, it will take all-comers, it will have high-end specialties for everyone that needs medical assistance.”

Asked about Judge Garcia’s involvement, Rocha said he stressed the importance of community clinics for the indigent poor. “One of the most important and essential things is that the amount of service that will be offered to the indigent is unprecedented. Sitting in the county that leads the country in the number of uninsured individuals, these four clinics will really be a welcome to the South Texas medical community and bring absolute new services for people in need. Judge Garcia made this request. It was his leading call.”

Rocha also told the Guardian that there are two types of teaching hospital: a regular teaching hospital and a major teaching hospital. A major teaching hospital is one that that four residency programs or more he said. “When we do things we jump in all the way. With the four programs, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is well on the way to becoming a major teaching hospital in South Texas.”

Rocha concluded his interview with the Guardian with these comments:

“The only limitation that anybody on the staff at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is how far your imagination can take you and I think today is a real tribute to that fact, that both Dr. Cardenas and Mr. Alonzo Cantu have created the institution that anybody who works at our hospital, the only limitation is how far your imagination and creativity can take you. Today that imagination and creativity has become a reality.”