South Texas Health System management and board members, along with local community leaders, recently broke ground on the South Texas ER at Weslaco, the health system’s first freestanding emergency room.

The South Texas ER at Weslaco is expected to open at 400 W. Expressway 83 in late 2014.

The facility will be equipped with 14 treatment and three short-stay observation rooms, emergency rooms, a full laboratory, outpatient radiology services, a retail pharmacy and a Level 4 trauma centre, to serve residents of the Mid-Valley area.

The diagnostic services will include computerised tomography (CT) scans, X-ray, ultrasound, bone density and mammography on an emergency and outpatient basis.

The South Texas ER will be open 24/7 and on holidays with emergency medicine physicians and ancillary staff. The facility will also have separate outpatient and emergency entrances and waiting areas.

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Providing IV trauma care, the facility will be capable of treating adult and paediatric general emergency cases on an outpatient basis, plus patients needing observation for less than 24 hours.

Patients requiring surgical intervention or a higher level of care will be stabilised and transferred to an area hospital.

McAllen Heart Hospital CEO and project manager for the new development Jason Chang said that the South Texas ER at Weslaco expands accessibility to quality healthcare to the growing Mid-Valley area.

"The provision of outpatient laboratory and radiological services provides a continuum of care for patients with chronic conditions."

"Residents will experience first class emergency care in their own community. The provision of outpatient laboratory and radiological services provides a continuum of care for patients with chronic conditions," Chang added.

"With the retail pharmacy on site, this facility will be a one-stop shop for patients. Think of us as your friendly neighbourhood medical centre where you can go for quick, quality service, but know that we’ve got all the big-city advancements at our fingertips should you need it."

Special facilities will also be available at the South Texas ER at Weslaco. The Senior Care ER programme will be available to provide older patients with items such as hearing amplification devices, reading glasses and large-print forms to help them communicate with the care team.

Additionally, the South Texas ER at Weslaco will offer ER Reserve appointment requests and online await times.

South Texas Health System is a network of six acute care hospitals and one behavioural health hospital that together provide care for patients throughout South Texas.