NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Saint Alyssa Medical Center Rural Health Clinic in Nacogdoches won’t open its doors until March, but patients are already preparing to use the clinic that’s being marketed as a “cradle to grave” service by CEO Michael Bishop.
Michael Bishop entered medical school in his sixties. He still plans to do a residency, but he has known about a medical problem affecting primarily the poor that he doesn’t like seeing.
“There are too many people being referred to out of town when this can be done right here," said Bishop, the CEO of St. Alyssa Medical Center Rural Health Clinic.
Melba Lowery, a Medicaid recipient living in Nacogdoches, knows all about that.
"So, I've been having to travel all the way to Crockett and I don't like having to do that," said Lowery.
The trips have stopped upon learning of the non-profit, faith-based St. Alyssa Medical Center. Services will come from a donated building, filling up with donated medical equipment.
It will provide for patients with all levels of income, including the insured says spokesperson Rhonda Green.
“The pay is based on what their income is. The indigent pays nothing if they don’t have a job,” explained Green.
Medical staff is even making house calls.
Bishop isn't worried about not having patients.
Nacogdoches County is defined as rural, medically underserved and experiencing a physician shortage. In addition, over 21% of the county’s population lives in poverty, much higher than state and national percentages.
“We have to address this. If we don’t do it then we’re going to just keep deluding ourselves,” said Bishop. “We’re either part of the problem or we’re part of the solution.”
Bishop says a physician and other medical staff are committed, as are private investors.
including well-respected and longtime Nacogdoches retired physician Dr. B.W. Henderson. At 88 he still studies medical books six inches thick and knows patients’ needs.
“Laboratory, x-ray, breast exams, it will all be right here," listed Henderson.
Henderson gave Bishop a vintage medical bag. Just like that depicted in the Country Doctor statue across the street from St. Alyssa. A symbol that there are those willing to combine a bit of 'old school' medicine with modern techniques.
A ribbon-cutting at St. Alyssa, located at the corner of North Mound and Bailey Streets in Nacogdoches will happen at 1 p.m. Friday. Physicians and medical staff will meet with local officials and the public. St. Alyssa is scheduled to open in early March.