JUDGE: Medical situation in the county is looking up
Within Milam County we are very fortunate to have five very fine medical providers, but we have no urgent care!
Country Meadows Clinic has offices in Thorndale and Rockdale; Healthpoint is located in Rockdale; The Rockdale Medical Clinic is located in Rockdale; Scott & White is located in Cameron; and Nurse Practitioner Monette Schweitzer makes house calls within the county. In addition, we have Standards Home Health Care, which is the largest independently owned home health care provider in Texas. Standards is great and provides many types of in home care for patients all over Milam County and in many adjoining counties.
But we don’t have after hours care. When the hospitals closed, we lost our two emergency rooms, which meant no after hours care in Milam County.
Since then your county government has worked to bring after hours care back to the county. The root problem of after hours care is money! Is there enough need in the county for after hours care to financially support such an operation? Will those who need after hours care go to a local provider or drive to nearby Temple, Taylor, Bryan, Caldwell and other places where there is such care? Nobody really knows and probably there is no way to know unless someone just takes a chance.
Recently one solution came to Milam County in the form of a telehealth station. This first of a kind medical provider came to us courtesy of Texas A&M. This state-of-the-art telehealth station was first offered to Rockdale and the plan was to put the device in the new police station for security purposes. However, Rockdale decided against this, probably, in part, for size considerations. Thereafter, the new telehealth station was offered to and accepted by the county. With the cooperation of Sheriff Chris White, the telehealth station was placed in the lobby of the Sheriff’s office at 512 N. Jefferson in Cameron where it is located today.
The telehealth station will provide both mental and physical health care. One may consult with a doctor, use diagnostic tools, including a stethoscope, camera and many other devices to enable the doctor to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses. The doctor can even prescribe medication, which can be provided on site during the visit. Texas A&M with the assistance of On-Med and Blue Cross-Blue Shield, designed and paid for the telehealth station and it is here for everyone to use for the next couple of years.
In addition, another opportunity recently arose when a young lady named Danielle Janicek came to Commissioners Court and stated she wanted to provide after hours medical care. To date she is the only medical provider from within or outside the County who has offered to provide the service. However, Ms. Janicek needed a place to practice.
Milam County now has a building; county grant money and thanks to Cameron Mayor Bill Harris and the Cameron City Council, Cameron grant money available to renovate the building. Renovation work will begin next week and this new after hours clinic plans to open for county-wide service on Jan. 4, 2021.
Thus, we now have after hours care in the form of a futuristic telehealth station, which will be provided at little or no cost to the Milam County taxpayer. In addition, we will soon have in person after hours care, which again will be provided at little or no cost to the Milam County taxpayer.
But neither of these providers will survive unless we as a county embrace and support them. If we continue to quibble about the location of or the manner in which the service is provided, we may very well not have the critical medical services we all need. No doubt you will agree these are wonderful opportunities for medical care, but without your support this will disappear like the hospitals.