Rio Grande Regional Hospital Celebrates 35 Years of Service


With a proven track record of providing the residents of the Rio Grande Valley with superior quality care, Rio Grande Regional Hospital is excited to be celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Rio Grande Regional Hospital opened its doors September 27, 1982, as a 150-bed hospital with less than 400 employees and 200 physicians. Today, the hospital is a 320-licensed-bed hospital with over 1,200 employees and more than 500 physicians representing over 35 specialties. As an affiliated hospital of the Healthcare Corporation of America (HCA), Rio Grande Regional Hospital has the support of the nation’s leading provider of healthcare services to provide you patient-centered medical care practiced with integrity and compassion.

Its mission statement — “Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life” — is the guiding principle the hospital staff and physicians operate by.

“Providing the patients with quality care is the ultimate in the staff’s decision-making,” said Debbie Brooks, the hospital’s Board of Trustees President. “The staff cares about quality, not quantity. They take the time to ensure each patient’s comfort, instead of focusing solely on numbers and statistics.  Quality is the bottom line of how people are being cared for during their most vulnerable time.”

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 2.05.30 PMCris Rivera, Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer and a Valley native who began her medical career in 1982 as a lab supervisor at the same hospital she now oversees, understands the importance of always providing quality health care to meet the needs of the patients and community members. She has witnessed firsthand how employees use Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s mission statement to deliver compassionate care.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 2.05.37 PMRivera recounted a story of a worried mom who came to the hospital in 1987 to deliver her second child. When the mom made it into the delivery department, she was feeling nervous, anxious, and frightened because the baby was late, and the nurse caring for the mom knew she could not leave her at that moment. As the day progressed, and the nurse’s shift ended, without hesitation, the nurse held the worried mom’s hand and reassured her that she was going to stay with her until the baby was born, and she did. That anxious mom was Rivera herself! Fast forward to today, and the staff continues to reassure the patients with the same level of utmost compassion and care.

“That consistent level of care and compassion is what sets Rio Grande Regional Hospital apart,” Rivera said. The heartfelt kindness she experienced on that day in the delivery room is one of the many reasons she is very proud to be a part of a team dedicated to serving the medical needs of the residents of the Rio Grande Valley.

Each year, the hospital and its leadership thoroughly assess the community’s and their physicians’ needs, Rivera said. They then add, change, and/or expand services to ensure everything functions at the highest level of efficiency and quality.

This attention to detail is what makes Rio Grande Regional Hospital stand out from the rest. The hospital was the first in Hidalgo County to offer community health care through convenient satellite locations, said Troy A. Villarreal, HCA Gulf Coast Division President. In 2012, it was the first in the Rio Grande Valley to open a freestanding emergency department; today,  there is a second freestanding emergency department and there are plans for a third.

Addressing the area’s needs, Rio Grande Regional Hospital specializes in the health conditions frequently experienced in this region: diabetes management, weight-loss programs, emergency services, and cardiovascular care.

However, to truly serve the community, education is crucial. The hospital provides community educational classes comprehensively covering topics such as diabetes management — including gestational diabetes, childbirth and breastfeeding classes, and weight loss. They offer pre- and post-surgical support and community education in stroke and heart attack awareness, in addition to healthy lifestyle tips to prevent heart disease.

Rio Grande Regional Hospital has its eye on the future for both the surrounding community and its staff and physicians. Its physician-friendly operations provide a wide variety of digital tools and applications that allow physicians access to real-time medical care of their patients. In addition, Villarreal said, their outstanding, dedicated team of IT health professionals and HCA Healthcare business partners work together, making the hospital a leader in automating and integrating clinical, patient safety, and administrative functions.

Leadership goes hand in hand with commitment and Rio Grande Regional Hospital demonstrates both.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 2.05.47 PM“The hospital has a strong commitment to the community while being supported by a corporation,” said Dr. Jennifer Almonte-Gonzalez, Rio Grande Regional Hospital’s Chief of Staff and an OB/GYN. “We’re combining the best of both worlds. This shows up in attention to details, and outcomes.”

Medical professionals across the country have been steadily decreasing their time with patients. Yet, Dr. Almonte-Gonzalez said, this is one area Rio Grande Regional Hospital and staff excel in. Doctors and nurses take their time and listen to patients.

“By spending that time, they pick up on things they can report to staff and/or doctors,” Dr. Almonte-Gonzalez said. “They’re looking to prevent problems before they arise.”

Living up to their core values — commitment, integrity, respect and excellence — is no small task. It is the reason Rio Grande Regional Hospital has been so successful in caring for the community.

“Rio Grande Regional Hospital is a top performing hospital based on accrediting standards,” Rivera said. “Our commitment is to continue providing you and your loved ones with the same high-quality, compassionate health care you have come to expect from us. Although we may not be the biggest, we are the best, and we proudly put our patients first in everything we do. We would like to thank you for placing your trust in Rio Grande Regional Hospital and allowing us the opportunity to serve you for 35 years.”