A Medical Mecca

The always-advancing medical industry has officially staked its claim on Buda.

Buda city leaders and officials Wednesday broke ground on a new 70,000-square-foot full-service Baylor Scott & White hospital, along with a 20,000-square-foot Ascension Seton Health Center. Both facilities will be located along White Wing Trail in east Buda.

Several hours later, St. David’s Healthcare announced plans to build a 24-hour emergency center along the Interstate 35 corridor.

Ann Miller, Buda Economic Development Corporation (EDC) executive director, said providing access to medical care for Buda residents was a priority. She also believes the facilities can lead to “spin-off” development for the area.

“It’s going to change the dynamic of Buda,” Miller said. “We want to provide services that haven’t been here before, and attract people from San Marcos, Austin and Kyle that want different options in medical service.”

One of Buda’s primary projects has been Baylor Scott and White’s full-service hospital, which will include an emergency room, hospital and a primary care and integrated multi-specialty medical clinic, according to a press release. BS&W officials estimate the facility will open by summer 2019.

Groundbreaking on the BS&W facility comes weeks after the Buda EDC unveiled a development agreement that paved the way for the new hospital.

Jay Fox, president of BS&W Austin/Round Rock Region, said BS&W’s vision is to have a health hub in the Hays County market. Fox said Buda’s hospital is the farthest south in the healthcare’s system and is the first time BS&W has built a clinic and hospital in conjunction.

Jose Montoya, Buda EDC Board of Directors vice president, said the BS&W facility was an “outstanding resource” the city landed and will be a “boon” that will create ancillary opportunities for the city.

Miller said rumors of the BS&W facility, which have been floating for the past year, led to retail construction taking place on the west side of Interstate 35 in front of Cabela’s.

Buda Fire Department Chief Clay Huckaby said the BS&W facility could play a role in cutting down on the turnaround times experienced by the city’s EMS service.

Huckaby estimated 80 percent of Buda patients are transported to Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle.

While Huckaby said he was thankful for the Kyle facility, it can can take EMS crews anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes to transport a patient and return back into service. Buda EMS transports into Austin can take as long as two hours.

“Now we can get units back in service in a quicker time frame without having to bring in additional resources,” Huckaby said.

Ascension Seton, which operates Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, expanded its services with a new health center that will have primary care, urgent care and walk-in services. That facility, located across from BS&W, is expected to open in the spring or summer 2019.

Construction on St. David’s HealthCare is slated to begin in April. According to a press release, St. David’s new facility will open in early 2019 and will serve as an extension of South Austin Medical Center.

St. David’s Emergency Center Buda will have a full-service, free-standing emergency department with 12 treatment beds, a CT scanner and advanced testing capabilities, including radiological testing.

Wiley Hopkins, Buda Mayor Pro-Tem, said the new Ascension facility will bring 50 new jobs to Buda. Hopkins added the new health centers will bring more retail development, including “restaurants and medical offices,” along with boosting sales and property tax revenue for the city.

“We want you to feel at home in Buda,” Hopkins said. “In the future, we envision Buda becoming the health capital of Hays County.”

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