By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – At the end of June, healthcare in Houston County was on life support after Timberlands Healthcare closed its doors. Just when it seemed like healthcare was about to be taken off life support and the Do Not Resuscitate directive enacted, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis announced they would be coming to Crockett in the near future.

 

The prognosis of healthcare in Houston County was even further upgraded when it was announced The Heart Institute of East Texas would be locating a medical facility in Crockett. 

In a press release from The Heart Institute, it was stated the facility would open its doors on Aug. 21.

“We are excited about coming to Crockett,” Dr. Ravinder Bachireddy – the founder and president of The Heart Institute of East Texas – said. “There was a big void after ETMC and Timberlands both left. There is a need to take care of the community and we are committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective cardiovascular care to the citizens of Crockett.”

Until the permanent facility is complete, the medical faci

 

lity will be temporarily housed at 300 Cedar Street, in the old Farm Bureau Building. The phone number will be 936-545-9030.

Once renovations are complete, the permanent location of The Heart Institute of East Texas will be 951 E. Loop 304.

Bachireddy said The Heart Institute had helped establish “… two high-quality heart surgery programs in both the (Lufkin) hospitals. We have eight open clinics all around Lufkin. There are clinics in Jasper, San Augustine, Livingston, Trinity, Center, Hemphill, Woodville and of course here in Lufkin. Now, we are coming to Crockett and would like to have a good presence over there.”

Asked why The Heart Institute was coming to Crockett, Bachireddy indicated the clinic already saw several patients from the Crockett area.

“The second reason is,” he said, “Lufkin is the nearest place patients can come to for their cardiovascular needs. The third reason is we met with local leaders and they all expressed enthusiasm and support for us to come there and establish a practice.”

The Crockett facility will have one cardiologist on staff who will be at the clinic at least three days a week and possibly more depending on the community needs, the CEO explained. Initially, the clinic would primarily treat heart-related problems while another provider would provide primary care.

 

“Right now for all the heart patients who need internal medicine care, we will be happy to provide it. We will work with the local physicians. We are eager to work with them and feel this will benefit everyone involved,” Bachireddy said.

If a referral is needed for hospital care, Bachireddy said the referral would be made to the Lufkin area hospitals in order to provide continuity of service.

Dr. Ravinder Bachireddy

As far as when the clinic will open, Bachireddy said they hope to open in their temporary location on Aug. 21 and hope to move into their permanent location within three to six months.

The initial hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p. m.

“Our mission is to provide high quality, cost effective, state of the art diagnostic and therapeutic heart and vascular services,” he said. “As a premier cardiology group in deep East Texas we are committed to serving and enhancing the well-being of the residents of East Texas region. Over the last three decades, cardiologists of The Heart Institute of East Texas have brought the latest state of the art technologies to deep East Texas.”

Practice Administrator Phillip La Corte said the hope of The Heart Institute is to use as much of the local workforce as possible during construction/renovations.

“When we start this work, we hope to hire local, do local, be local and to feel local. We really want to participate and be engaged in the community. We did over 200 community events in the Lufkin market over the last two years and we have 100 a year as a goal,” La Corte said.

The clinic will start with five employees and grow from there. The medical facility will have an office manager, an LVN (licensed vocational nurse), an MA (medical assistant) and two nurse practitioners beginning on day one, he said.

“Since 1982, the physicians of The Heart Institute of East Texas have been dedicated to caring for the hearts of East Texans, incorporating the latest medical technology along with physicians who continue to focus on the most advanced techniques,” the press release stated.

“Our physicians specialize in many facets of heart care to further insure our patients have access to the most recent advances right here in East Texas.  As the largest group of heart physicians in deep East Texas, we are dedicated to improving the overall health and wellbeing in our communities,” the media release stated.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.