by Victor Lopez
FORT STOCKTON--"We want people to have an out of Fort Stockton experience. When they walk into this building, we want them to think, wow, we have this technology and health care in our town," Hospital CEO, Russell Tippen, said.
What started 5 years ago as a dream, slowly developed into a reality. A state of the art, physical therapy and wellness center for Pecos County.
As Tippen explained, "We have people that have to travel, sometimes 100 or 200 miles roundtrip to get services done. What could we do to get those services here in Fort Stockton?"
The facility offers something for everyone, patient or not. It has gym quality workout equipment, aquatic and cardiac therapy, even a place to sit back and relax.
"We have a shortage of dental care in Fort Stockton. We have a place here, if a dentist from out of town wants to come in and doesn't want to invest in a whole building, we have a space they can rent for one or two days a month and the best equipment you can get. They can come down and see their patients here," Tippen said.
The room hospital officials hope will get the most use is the dialysis center. As early as Tuesday, people were lining up, hoping to get their name on the list to receive this valuable service.
According to Tippen, "We can carry a patient load of 48. (Tuesday) we had 18 - 20 people that want to get on the list. As soon as we get our license from the state, they're ready to rock."
Up until now, dialysis patients in Fort Stockton had to travel to Midland, Odessa, or Pecos to get their treatment. Now, patients can be dropped off, get their treatment, and be taken home, with minimal discomfort and incovenience.
"The crown jewel of this building is the room we're standing in now, the dialysis center. A lot of people were sceptical that it wasn't going to happen," Tippen commented.
Tippen added, the facility as a whole will be a great benefit for residents, but it's going to have a major economic impact on the hosptial and the city, "Those people come to Fort Stockton, use the hospital, use the new building, stay in the hotels, buy the gas, go to our Wal Mart. It's kind of a whole economic development issue here."