City goes in depth on Seton facility - Elgin Courier: News

City goes in depth on Seton facility

By Fernando Castro fernando.castro@elgincourier.com | Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 3:30 pm

Citizens got a glimpse of what Elgin’s future will look like with a Seton medical facility in town.

The City of Elgin invited the public to a presentation on the new development agreement between the city and Seton Family of Hospitals at the Elgin Public Library Civic Center Jan. 30. 

A Seton representative was in attendance as well.

“This is a very, very important night for us,” Mayor Chris Cannon said, opening the night. 

“This event can’t have enough attention put on it because quite frankly, it’s revolutionary.”  

The presentation expanded on the city’s December 2017 announcement of a Seton Family of Hospitals facility coming to Elgin. Both Elgin City Council and Economic Development Corporation approved the economic development agreement with Seton earlier that month. 

The facility will be located in western Elgin on a planned extension of Roy Rivers Boulevard south of U.S. 290 and Prosperity Bank. Construction is slated to begin later this year.

“We’re just waiting on the road to get built and the utilities to get extended out to the site, and we’ll be ready to break ground,” said Scott Fuller, senior vice president for joint ventures and alliances for Ascension Texas and Seton Family of Hospitals. “We’re currently in the design phase right now. Our facilities planning department is working on the design of the equipment, and we’ll be ready to go.”

The facility will have a full-time family practice physician that can treat adults and children in the clinic five days a week, during normal business hours. 

When Seton hires that physician, preference will be given to applicants willing to live locally.

Urgent care will be available nights and weekend at hours yet to be determined. A mid-level practitioner will be hired, which Fuller says will likely play a pivotal role in urgent care.

“As the population grows and hits certain points, Seton is obligated, and it’ll be our privilege,” Fuller said, “to conduct a study to see what additional services can be supported by the community, and if the study bears out, then we will bring additional services and continue to develop and bring more and more medical facilities and services to the community.”

Population benchmarks for new services will be when the number of residents reaches 20,000, 30,000 and 50,000.

The “population” will not necessarily be dependent on Elgin, though. Seton’s studies will measure the population within a 10-mile radius of the facility itself, which clips east Manor. 

“The truth is we’re not too far from 20,000 now I would bet in that radius, so that’s an important element in this,” said City Manager Tom Mattis. 

“Don’t think Elgin has to get 50,000 to get those commitments.”

Even with just the first facility planned, the community’s current population is projected to hurt Seton financially in the coming years. 

The U.S. Census Bureau recorded Elgin’s population as 9,323 in 2016. That size is not typical for communities where Seton builds facilities such as the one planned for Elgin.

“Because of that, Seton will actually have a negative revenue stream in the initial years,” Mattis said, “and so it’s the incentive that we provided them, the cost sharing that we’ve kind of gone through to close the gap for them so they can afford to this now and give us these services that we think we can do.”

In the meantime, the city manager says we still have “miles to go before we sleep.”

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do from the city’s prospective,” Mattis said. 

“This is a great deal and a great project for us moving forward, but as Scott said, they’re kind of waiting on us now.”