Local health department struggles to keep up with rising patient - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Local health department struggles to keep up with rising patients, limited staff

The Ector County Health Department. (Source: KWES.) The Ector County Health Department. (Source: KWES.)
ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) -

Since 2012 the Ector County Health Department nursing staff has dropped from five nurses to two.  

The reason is county budget cuts in the recent years.

However, the growing number of patients has put a strain on the staff.  

Many times the Health Department says that they have had to turn away patients.  

"We have not had that staff with two nurses to do that, so we have to redirect them to other places they redirect them back to us, and I hate to say this but it’s the truth we are playing pin-pong with the patients," said Gino Solla, director for Ector County Health Department.  

Worse than being turned away, the clinic may have to close on you, something they had to do this year.  

"We closed it down one time because we had one nurse on maternity leave and the other nurse called in sick," said Solla.  

Which leaves people that need affordable care with little options.  

Another big factor in the incitement of patients.  

"We have doubled the number of sexually transmitted exams and treatments," said Solla.  

 In 2011, Planned Parenthood closed in both Midland and Odessa leaving the county health department as a primary source for patients to seek care with sexually transmitted diseases.  

886 patients were seen for STD's in 2011 and last year that number doubled to 1,328.  

The number of STD's is growing nationwide. 

It may be still the beginning of summer, but in about a month students will be back at school.  

Its required by Texas law that students must have certain vaccines, and for parents waiting until the last minute, a walk-in clinic might have to be an option.  

"So, we are a walk-in clinic.  some of the other clinics some of the other physicians in the area may tell the parents that we can't see your child for a month. Are you going to keep your child out of school for a month? No," said Solla.  


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