EDINBURG, RGV – South Texas Healthcare System recently opened their fourth free-standing emergency room facility on McColl Road in Edinburg.

By the end of the year, STHS will open two more.

Conrad Brown

Conrad Brown, system director of the free-standing emergency department and ambulatory services for South Texas Healthcare System (STHS) has helped build over 20 free-standing emergency department in other states such as Colorado and Missouri. Within Texas, he has helped develop free-standing ER centers in cities such as Corpus Christi, Houston and Dallas.

Currently, there are four such STHS facilities, located in Weslaco, Mission, north Edinburg on Monte Cristo and the most recent center to open, on McColl. The other two free-standing centers will be located in McAllen and Alamo.

“[Free standing emergency departments] service the community so they won’t have to compete with the inpatient hospital activity that is going on,” Brown said. “We take the building of an emergency department and put it on [some land] … that is able to offer the same services that you would have at a campus hospital-based emergency department.”

According to Brown, a New York City native who has predominantly worked in emergency room departments for most of his career, free-standing centers are a growing trend in today’s market. The trend is to move from inpatient services to an outpatient program through a more ambulatory-care setting.

“UHS (United Health Services) is the parent company of STHS and its head office is located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The company has the vision to be able to bring more to the community,” Brown said. “We started to spread out that vision to other states and more so throughout the country.”

The free-standing emergency departments offer the same care that can be found in a hospital-based emergency department such as 24-hour lab services, x-rays, CT scans and outpatient services. If for some reason, the center is unable to provide the aid to their patients, they will be transferred to the closest sister facility.

“South Texas Health System is not just about getting the numbers and meeting the numbers, it’s all about patient care. We put that first and that’s how we go around [and determine] where we want a place that’s a freestanding emergency department,” Brown said.

“There are enough patients for everyone and we can also help the community by giving the most important service for the patient which is that fast, efficient care so they don’t have the long wait. The patients will get satisfaction and an experience that we know is going to be very positive.”

The free-standing emergency department in Weslaco is one of the busiest centers in STHS. Brown says Weslaco sees approximately 90 patients per day when, on average, the other centers only see about 50 to 60 per day.

LIVE at Bob’s

Bob’s Burger

South Texas Health System will be the Rio Grande Guardian’s featured guests at the next LIVE at Bob’s event at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg. The luncheon is on July 24, with the program starting at 12 noon. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at 11:30 a.m. The speakers will be Doug Matney, regional Vice President of South Texas Health System, and Conrad Brown, system director of the free-standing emergency department and ambulatory services for South Texas Healthcare System. Tickets cost $25 per person. For more information call Bob’s at (956) 380-2627.