Big Things Come in Small Packages



Imagine needing emergency medical services and not having to endure long delays in a waiting room. That scenario has been made possible by Valley Baptist Micro Hospital in Weslaco.

“What [patients] can expect is really little to no wait time and to be greeted by a staff of skilled, licensed, registered healthcare experts who are committed to providing quality care all in a safe and compassionate environment,” said Celina I. Gutierrez, nurse manager at the facility.

The micro hospital offers standard services when it comes to health care — with additional advantages unique to its size.

“Since we are basically a smaller version of a larger hospital, it allows us a more personalized visit with the patient,” Gutierrez said. “The physicians are able to sit longer, be more thorough, and really establish a great rapport with them.”

The micro hospital encompasses 29,000 square feet full of new, state-of-the-art equipment and services for the community. This includes eight rooms for inpatient care, a full-service ER with 14 rooms and two trauma bays, a full-functioning laboratory, and pharmacy, respiratory, and imaging departments.

Recognizing a need in the Mid-Valley community for convenient and easily accessible health care, the micro hospital offers outpatient services like lab draws or CT scans, ultrasounds, or X-rays during extended hours. These services are available up until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“It gives that flexibility of being able to come and get those services done and managing your health care without having to take time off work,” said Ronda Lewis, site administrator.

It’s touches like these that make the micro hospital stand out from other facilities.

“I’ve said this since the beginning: We don’t only want to come in and service the community — we want to be part of the community,” Lewis said. “We are honored to have been accepted by Weslaco and surrounding areas as part of the community.”

The micro hospital marks one year of service in January. It has provided care for everything from pneumonia and allergic reactions to diabetes management and dehydration — and many additional conditions — to the Mid-Valley community.

“The biggest advantage is [patients] stay locally — they don’t have to be transported to Harlingen,” said Dr. Paul Elangwe, a physician at the micro hospital. “It also gives them an opportunity to stay in the Valley Baptist system.”

Valley Baptist Health System has served the Lower Valley for 95 years, delivering compassionate, patient-centered care. The micro hospital is the first of its kind in the RGV, and streamlines medical services in a powerful way for the community it serves.

“The micro can provide more services to the community than a freestanding emergency room and the acuity level at the micro is much broader than that of the average urgent care,” Lewis said.

Another advantage the micro hospital has when it comes to its size is the committed medical team.

“The staff is very respectful — they maintain your privacy,” Elangwe said. “They respond quickly, so if you need any assistance, somebody will be right there. [Patients] don’t see multiple providers in a day. At the micro hospital, you just have one physician that you see for the entire time you are there.”

In a larger hospital setting, multiple caregivers can cause confusion. A patient and their family members may not be sure which physician is delivering which type of care. Elangwe and the rest of the team at the micro hospital work together to provide excellent care for their patients while getting them back to normal.

“We try to keep people out of the hospital,” he said, explaining that the micro hospital staff facilitates ongoing home care, therapy appointments, and other resources for patients who need it. “We try to minimize their stay. I’m passionate about getting them out as soon as medically possible.

“It’s a great opportunity for the folks here in Weslaco. Valley Baptist is doing their best to expand access to health care in this community.”

The micro hospital has also been strictly adhering to safety protocols to address COVID-19. Everyone who enters the facility — patients, family members, physicians, and staff — is screened, including answering questions about their health, any symptoms, and recent travel, as well as a temperature check. Masks are required. If a patient or visitor does not have a mask, one will be provided for them. All staff and physicians wear proper personal protective equipment, and rooms and equipment are sanitized following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control.

In short, there’s no reason to delay necessary medical care because of pandemic concerns.

“Valley Baptist is an established household name — you’re going to get the same quality of care that you would receive at the main hospital,” said Maru De La Paz, business development manager for the micro hospital. “We have experienced staff. The cleanliness of the place and the protocols we have established should make every patient that walks in the door feel safe.”

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