BIG SPRING - After three years of planning, Howard County officials can now get to work turning an empty building at 1300 Gregg Street in Big Spring into a new medical clinic.
The federal government gave them the green light and renovations will begin.
Its purpose will be to try to help make medical care affordable for West Texans.
"It's gonna be a great thing for Howard County and the folks that are in the surrounding area," Larry Rodgers, CEO of nearby Scenic Mountain Medical Center, said.
The building has been abandoned for nearly seven years.
Now the South Plains Rural Health Services of Levelland is partnering with the Howard County Health Center to make it patient-friendly.
It'll cost the county more than $200,000, but officials say the benefits outweigh the dollar signs.
"It's gonna provide another point of medical access for those individuals who have a hard time finding a provider because they don't have insurance or those that have to use the emergency room for primary health care because they don't have a provider," Dr. Judy Madura, CEO of South Plains, said. "You can go to the emergency room and get a $1,500 bill being seen for a cold or you can go to the clinic and pay $20."
No insurance? No provider? No problem. To get primary medical care from this clinic, the cost will work around what you have.
"The person will pay according to how many people are in their family and what their income is," Madura said. "There'll be a nominal fee all the way up to a full fee depending on what their status is."
The project received 33 letters of approval from the community and local hospitals are excited because it will help people get out of cluttered emergency rooms and get their care quicker.
"We have to decompress the emergency room sometimes and what happens if someone's underinsured or uninsured?" Rodgers asked. "It also gives individuals an avenue to go to some type of primary care provider that will help them out efficiently, effectively."