Trinity Mother Frances Breaks Ground On Lake Palestine-Area Expansion
By ADAM RUSSELL
NOONDAY — A few shovel loads of dirt tossed in the air marked the official beginning of an expansion project planned to bring better health care to East Texas residents.
Executives and staff from Trinity Mother Frances held a ground-breaking ceremony Friday morning for an expansion of the existing Trinity Clinic-Lake Palestine facility.
TMF Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ray Thompson said the $6.3 million addition will increase convenience and services for local patients. The current 3,700 square-foot clinic has serviced the burgeoning area surrounding Lake Palestine for 20 years.
The future facility will be a 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art health care center offering most of the services provided in Tyler.
The new facility’s service will include diagnostic testing, mammography, physical therapy and fitness centers with a pool and a sleep center as some of its options. Offices for five medical providers will also be added. Thompson said the vision for the expansion is to offer local patients as many services as possible without them ever having to drive to Tyler.
“It makes health care easy,” he said. “Instead of them having to come to us, we are bringing health care to the people.”
Thompson said area growth necessitated the expansion. Growing communities including Flint, Emerald Bay and Bullard will benefit from the hospital’s long-term plan to bring facilities like those in Canton and Lindale to the region, he said.
President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Teegarden said one of the goals for the new facility will be to not only serve people after they become ill but to encourage a healthier lifestyle that may help people avoid health risks. TMF has worked in conjunction with Premier Fitness for five years to accomplish that goal.
“In medicine we have been good about being there for people when they get sick but we haven’t been there to prevent illnesses and help people maintain their health,” he said. “We need to close that gap.”
Teegarden said expanding services closer to home will promote better community health, and Thompson believes communities will flourish because of the accessibility to advanced health care. The expanded facility is expected to be completed by fall 2009.