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.