Nacogdoches hospital board votes to keep clinics open

ETOILE, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital board members made the decision rural residents wanted to hear: outlying medical clinics will stay open.

For now, service outweighs the bottom line.

A trip to the Etoile Medical Clinic is fun for Cheyenne, even if she does have a sore throat.

The six-year-old knows nothing about budget bottom lines. Nor does she realize the benefits of living close to the clinic.

"Especially when you have just one vehicle or you're dependent on somebody else to take you and stuff like that," said patient Saundra Patrick.

Physician Assistant Bonnie Ryan was almost certain all that was going away for her patients.

"I was fairly confident they were going to close," Ryan said.

The clinics have a new lease on life, at least for the time being. They're always up for review. The sticking point is there's never a steady stream of patients in and out of the clinics.

"It's definitely not a money making entity, but it's very important, I think," Ryan said.

If used properly, community medical clinics are great for emergencies, illnesses and most of all preventive care.

"I'm just over being sick myself," said patient Barbara Whisenant. "They got me well and you can get shots here and they do physicals and just about everything you need."

Of course, all taxpayers foot the bill for community clinics. Ryan says the clinic is making a difference for not only Etoile, but all of Nacogdoches County.

"It's taken years for us to get many of our patients to understand preventive care can save you money in the long run," Ryan said. "Saves the patient money. Saves the hospital money. Saves the surgeons money. Saves the government money."

Again all that isn't important to some patients.

They just know they like who gets them well.

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