Urgent Care Clinic Provides New & Needed Option
Mercedes Mayor Oscar Montoya recalls his days as a young father when his son became ill and began crying and wouldn’t stop.
“Knapp Medical is all we had back then,’’ he said of the Mid-Valley hospital. “You go to an emergency room at a hospital and it’s wall-to-wall people.’’
Health care in the Mid-Valley – and Mercedes in particular – has come a long way since those years when the then-future mayor and his wife had few choices when it came to seeking emergency care. Today, there is the UT Health RGV/Knapp Family Health Center in Mercedes. It’s a 14,000-square-foot facility located on Expressway 83 and North Mile 2 W Road.
In recent months, the family health center has added evening and weekends urgent care to the essential medical services it provides during daytime hours. Knapp medical staff takes over during evening hours and weekends from the UTRGV staff that covers basic family health care during morning/afternoon weekday hours. The clinic’s expansion to include urgent care was celebrated on Nov. 9 as Knapp Medical administrators and Mid-Valley community leaders praised the new services now available to the area.
“Our communities now have somewhere to go other than an ER during evening hours and on weekends,’’ said Mid-Valley County Commissioner David Fuentes. “This facility is encouraging people to go somewhere where you can get access to urgent health care at an affordable cost.’’
Great Local Option
A fuller utilization of the Mercedes clinic in serving the entire Mid-Valley shows how the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its medical school are branching out to improve health care across the region.
Knapp Medical serves as a teaching hospital for UTRGV medical students. Some of the aspiring doctors work at the Mercedes clinic under the supervision of practicing physicians on the School of Medicine staff. The university’s partnership with Knapp Medical has now been strengthened with the opening of the new Mid Valley Urgent Care at the family health center in Mercedes.
“We wanted to do something in the Mid-Valley for care after hours,’’ said Dr. Ruddy Valdes, Knapp’s medical director for emergency and urgent care. “Families and residents in this area can now come here for minor emergencies. This is a great option that’s local.’’
Valdes said it’s still advisable to seek hospital care for major health concerns, but said for common injuries and illnesses associated with fevers and colds, along with stiches and laceration care, the Mid Valley Urgent Care can take care of many of those issues.
“This is a whole other option that we really needed in Mercedes and in the Mid-Valley,’’ Mayor Montoya said at the Nov. 9 event.
State Sen. Morgan LaMantia also attended the early Nov. 9 event and called the clinic’s day and night medical services “a lifeline for families’’ in the Mid-Valley. Dr. Rene Lopez, Knapp Medical’s CEO, said community support was a key to bringing urgent health care to the family health center.
“This facility wouldn’t have happened without the leadership and support of the city of Mercedes,’’ Lopez said.
Urgent care at the family health center in Mercedes is available from 5 p.m. to 11p.m. during weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.