City of Presidio in Need of First Permanent Doctor in History
March 6, 2014 at 10:17 PM CST - Updated July 25 at 1:05 PM
By Alicia Neaves
PRESIDIO - Imagine living in a place where it takes days to get medicine and possibly a couple of hours to get to the nearest hospital. That's exactly what the City of Presidio has faced. But a new medical clinic is hoping to change that.
"In a town of 7,000 people that should be able to support two to three full-time physicians, it's amazing to think that in the 21st century, the year 2014, there is still a town in Texas, in the United States of this population, that has never been able to support or to retain a full-time physician here," Dr. Adrian Billings, Chief Medical Officer of Presidio County Health Services, said.
Dr. Billings is a family physician at the Presidio County Medical Clinic. It's the only medical clinic in Presidio that serves patients with or without health insurance.
"We have a program where people can pay $15 for their office visit," Linda Molinar, CEO of Presidio County Health Services, said.
Physicians who commute each day from Alpine to Presidio treat 95% of patients. The rest are taken to hospitals. Travel time could be more than two hours, since the area only has two ambulances. If patients need a prescription, they must pick it up in Ojinaga, Mexico, wait a couple of days for it to arrive by bus or drive to Alpine. But the Presidio County Medical Clinic has the perfect recipe to change that with several patient rooms and a brand new facility ready for a physician to call it home.
The medical clinic has also prepared a pharmacy room. All that's needed is a pharmacist.
A doctor in Presidio will have a unique opportunity to do just about everything.
"What used to be the standard country doctor, that did house calls and went to the hospital, delivered babies," Billings said.
With the help of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center-Permian Basin, this clinic will be the first to have a rural family medicine program in the Big Bend, welcoming medical students starting in 2015.
"We will do whatever it takes for this clinic to grow and survive. But right now, we really need the help of a doctor in Presidio," Molinar said.