When Complete Care Community Hospital opens on the Westside this week, it will be the Dallas-based chain’s first “micro” hospital.

“We really hope to learn from this experience,” says Rob Morris, CEO of Complete Emergency Care. “This lower-cost, newer approach to providing care, we plan to duplicate this in other markets.”

The company, which operates 23 freestanding emergency rooms in Texas and Colorado, is testing the micro-hospital concept here in El Paso.

The hospital, which Morris described as a $10 million-plus investment, will put it in more direct competition with El Paso’s longtime health-care giants, The Hospitals of Providence and Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare.

Complete Care Community Hospital is scheduled to open Tuesday on the corner of Camelot Heights and North Mesa, and Complete plans to hold a community event to celebrate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Complete Care Community Hospital is scheduled to open Tuesday on the corner of Camelot Heights and North Mesa, and Complete plans to hold a community event to celebrate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Complete Emergency Care was the first freestanding emergency room chain to enter the El Paso market when it opened an ER next to a Dunkin’ Donuts in a Westside strip mall in 2013.

Freestanding ERs, in general, are equipped with almost everything except an attached hospital. They are never closed and are staffed by an emergency doctor, but they do not treat severe trauma or receive patients by ambulance.

Micro-hospitals also have ERs but add inpatient beds, usually between 10 and 30, and an operating room. They perform some of the same emergency services done at larger hospitals but are cheaper to build and operate.

According to U.S. News & World Report, as of April, there were micro-hospitals in 19 states, and they are becoming a trend in health care.

Complete’s hospital will have 13 inpatient beds, six emergency treatment rooms, an operating room, pharmacy and lab. It will also have imaging services such as X-ray, CT scanning and ultrasound.

Morris with Complete says they chose El Paso for their first micro-hospital because of the success they have had with their freestanding ERs here and the positive response from physicians.

“It’s just amazing the talent we have been able to find in El Paso, and I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to somebody in El Paso,” he says. “Building a hospital is us putting our money where our mouth is.”

Complete has hired David Baquera as the hospital administrator. An El Pasoan, Baquera previously worked for The Hospitals of Providence and Emergence Health Network.

Amy Hernandez, who has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso, is the facility’s director of nursing. Hernandez opened El Paso’s first freestanding ER on the Westside four years ago.

The hospital was granted its license two weeks ago, according to Morris, and is pursuing accreditation from the Joint Commission. Once it’s accredited, they will seek approval to accept federal health insurance plans such as Medicaid, Medicare and TRICARE. The company is also in negotiations with major private insurers.

About two years after the company opened its first freestanding ER in El Paso, it opened a second location on the Eastside in a former Blockbuster video store at Montwood and George Dieter.

Houston-based Neighbors Health System quickly followed Complete into the market, opening its first El Paso location in 2015.

The Hospitals of Providence, El Paso’s largest hospital operator, jumped into the business along with Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare. And in September, Hospitals of Providence opened a micro-hospital in Horizon City, the region’s first.

The rush to open freestanding ERs in El Paso hit a peak in early 2016. That year, competing ERs opened on opposite corners just off Loop 375 in Far East El Paso. They flank the road leading to a hospital just 1,000 feet away.

Since then, Neighbors has slowed its expansion in El Paso, pulling back on a planned Westside location. And Morris says they don’t have any immediate plans for expansion in the El Paso market but, longterm, they are “continuing to look for opportunities.”

Email Robert Gray at rsgray@elpasoinc.com or call (915) 534-4422 ext. 143.


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