U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, took a brief tour of the facilities at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne on Friday morning before sitting down with Texas Health officials for a discussion centering on health care policy.
Joel Ballew, director of government affairs and advocacy for Texas Health Resources, said the discussion — which was not open to the media — was intended to “let the congressman start getting to know the hospital leadership and let us start building a working relationship with him.”
Ballew said Texas Health Resources and the Cleburne hospital “want [Williams] to know he can look to us as a resource” for information and advice when it comes to “making informed decisions on health care votes and policies.”
Texas Health Cleburne President Blake Kretz led Williams on a tour through the hospital’s emergency room and the labor and delivery department.
Kretz told the congressman that the 17-bed emergency room serves about 3,000 people each month, and that about 40 percent of those patients do not have a primary care physician. He said that the hospital works with HOPE Medical and Dental Clinic to try to coordinate a way to provide better care for those patients, keeping them from visiting the emergency room, which is more expensive.
Williams and Kretz both agreed that once Texas 121 opens next year, Cleburne and Johnson County are going to see explosive growth. Kretz said the Cleburne hospital is better prepared to meet the increased demand for health care services that will come with that growth since joining the Texas Health Resources system.
“Being part of the Texas Health Resources system has really benefited this hospital. We certainly wouldn’t have the resources we have otherwise,” Kretz said.
According to information provided by Ballew, Texas Health Cleburne has about 437 employees, with more than 188 physicians with active, courtesy or consulting staff privileges and 180 registered nurses on staff. The hospital has 65 community volunteers and about 137 licensed beds.
Latest available numbers show that Texas Health Cleburne registers 35,539 emergency visits, about 501 deliveries and 50,628 inpatient and outpatient visits annually.
The hospital’s clinical service areas include cardiovascular, diagnostic imaging, pain management, sleep medicine, urology and women’s and infant’s health. Its community outreach programs include Shots for Tots, Mammograms Are A Must! and Know Your PSA.
Those participating in Williams’ visit to the hospital on Friday were Texas Health Cleburne’s board Chair McKinley Knox, Finance Manager Diana White, Director of Quality Cindy Stepp Gann and Human Resources Director Shelly Allain. From Texas Health Resources were Group Chief Finance Officer Rick Humphreys, Executive Vice President of Southwest Zone Operations Jeffrey Canose and Government Affairs and Advocacy Manager Marcus Mitias.
Joseph Lafko and Lexi Carter with Williams’ staff also attended.