Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) will relocate its Bishop Ernest T. Dixon Jr. Clinic to the site of the former Southeast Baptist Hospital in Southeast San Antonio, an area of the city that has lacked a healthcare facility for the uninsured.
The property at 4214 E. Southcross has stood largely vacant since 2011, when Southeast Baptist moved to Brooks City-Base on the Southside. The Dixon Clinic, which provides primary care based on a family’s ability to pay, will move from its current location on 1954 E. Houston St. in late 2017, Methodist officials said Thursday.
“We are bringing over primary care, our dental clinic, and counseling and case management systems,” said Jessica Muñoz, MHM’s communications director. “We want to make sure we allocate resources in underserved communities [with a] high need for care.”
MHM purchased the Southcross property for $3,250,000 on Jan. 11. The private healthcare organization said it will spend $7 million to $10 million in renovations to the existing buildings.
The 20-acre property consists of the former Southeast Baptist Hospital building and two medical offices. The Dixon Clinic will relocate to one of the medical office buildings. Private physicians’ offices currently occupy one of the buildings and will remain open. The hospital building will be demolished as additional plans for the site develop, Methodist officials said.
Baptist Health System‘s decision in 2011 to relocate the Southeast Baptist Hospital to Brooks City-Base sparked controversy. While some saw the relocation as necessary due to the need for a state-of-the-art medical complex on the Southside, others said the medical facility closure left a void in the Southeast area.
“We want to make clear we are creating access for people on the Southeastside, but we will continue to fund our partners on the Eastside,” Healthcare Ministries President and CEO Kevin Moriarty told the Rivard Report Thursday.
In March 2015, MHM commissioned research from Capital Healthcare Planning to assess the healthcare needs of the uninsured in Bexar County and identify areas that lack healthcare delivery services. The report identified major gaps in specific areas, which prompted Methodist leadership to relocate the Dixon Clinic to Southcross, roughly six-and-a-half miles away from the current Dixon location. The Dixon Clinic has been on the Eastside for 20 years.
“The data showed an emerging unmet need,” Moriarty said. “It affirmed we still have work to do on the Southeastside, and the Dixon Clinic was the answer just as it was 20 years ago.”
After the CHP report was completed, Methodist consulted community leaders such as Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4), who confirmed the need for investment.
“This is one of the most significant infusions of investment in the Pecan Valley area in years, and I am so grateful that Methodist Healthcare Ministries answered our prayers,” Calvert stated in a Facebook post Thursday. “… All of us will be blessed with a new beginning at the old Southeast Baptist Hospital that will make all of us proud for [many more] generations.”
The clinic on Southcross will give area residents access to the kind of care that may have been unavailable to them previously, Muñoz said.
“It’s a huge investment. We will enhance services we already provide,” Muñoz said. “The services that we provide in our dental clinic for example … rivals what private dental providers give to their clients.”
Calvert said that the opening of the new clinic is one of the best things to happen to the Southeastside.
“This has been an abandoned hospital for the last couple of years, and this will help a medically underserved area where there are gaps in primary care and overall community services,” he said. “Places like the Dixon center, it couldn’t come at a better time. We are grateful for the infusion of dollars and investment.”