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Culberson Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital located in Van Horn, Texas, approximately 121 miles east of El Paso and 432 miles west of San Antonio on Interstate 10. It is the only hospital in a 4-county area including Culberson, Hudspeth, and Jeff Davis and Presidio counties.
The hospital is licensed for 14 inpatient acute care beds, all of which may be used as "swing beds" or skilled nursing beds to meet the needs of Medicare patients who need extra time to heal and strengthen following an acute care stay. In addition, area residents can also obtain a wide range of inpatient and outpatient health care services at the hospital minimizing the need to travel long distances for health care.
Culberson Hospital maintains Level IV Trauma Center designation, providing emergency services for the residents of Culberson and surrounding counties 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year. Through the hospital’s affiliation with Avera eCare, the services of local providers are complemented by those of board certified emergency room physicians and critical care nurses immediately available through telemedicine at the touch of a button.
The hospital also operates an ambulance service – Culberson Hospital Emergency Medical Services – that covers all 3,812 square miles of Culberson County, including the Town of Van Horn as well as the more remote areas of the county such as the Guadalupe Mountains National Park and various wind turbine sites located in the surrounding mountains. The hospital is home to the Van Horn Rural Health Clinic, a federally designated rural health clinic staffed by qualified, committed group of providers and support staff who manage outpatient, inpatient and emergency care.
A small hospital focused on clinical quality, Culberson prides itself on a level of personalized care that lets you know you are always close to home.
Hospital District Partnership with Preferred Establishes Strong Foundation
Culberson Hospital was constructed in 1970 under the auspices of Culberson County. With the support of the community, the Culberson County Hospital District (CCHD) assumed responsibility for the hospital in 1985, successfully guiding hospital operations for almost 30 years.
Faced with declining utilization and severely constrained financial resources, the CCHD applied for and received Critical Access Hospital designation in 2003. In 2004, the CCHD entered into a long term lease with Preferred Hospital Leasing Van Horn, Inc., an affiliate of Preferred Management Corporation, with a track record of successful rural hospital operations. The partnership between the CCHD and Preferred is a turnaround story that made Modern Healthcare in 2007 and one that continues through today.
Community Support Helps Hospital Keep Pace with Today’s Health Care
In 2007, with the hospital on sound financial ground, the CCHD began to tackle another critical problem: the condition of the building. Although the old hospital was well constructed and had been well maintained, the Board felt it was prudent to evaluate the building to help insure the continued availability of quality health care services in Culberson County for the next 40 years.
A study confirmed that the existing facility no longer met current hospital building codes and was not sized or configured to efficiently accommodate the services provided, or the planned addition of new services. In addition, the old mechanical and electrical systems made it impossible to add new technology and were creating an increasing number of maintenance problems.
The CCHD Board the CCHD went to the taxpayers in May 2008 with a strategic master facility plan for the future of the hospital, emergency department and ambulance services and received overwhelming support for the issuance of $7.5 million in bonds to construct a new addition to the hospital and provide for needed new equipment.
The new 14,000 sq. ft. addition to the hospital, including a 14-bed inpatient unit, a new emergency department and a new imaging center, opened in June 2010 coinciding with the Van Horn Jubilee. More than 300 local and former residents attended the hospital’s open house celebration with local and state dignitaries honoring the community’s accomplishment.
In 2012, the District Board used the balance of bond funds to move forward with the renovation of the north side of the original hospital area, including the addition of automatic doors at the main entrance to the original building, a new, larger physical therapy area, an updated admissions area with a new reception desk and a private cubicle for patient interviews, a comfortable waiting area, a new entrance to the lab from the north hallway and more accessible restrooms.
Less visible but of equal importance were upgrades to the plumbing, electrical and heating and air conditioning systems that can support today’s technology, and provide for a more comfortable, safe and accessible environment for patients and staff.
The District completed the final phase of renovation in 2018, with the renovation of the north wing of the original hospital to accommodate the Van Horn Rural Health Clinic. The new clinic features a large and comfortable waiting room with a separate pediatric waiting area, 8 exam and 2 procedure rooms, a laboratory and a medication room, along with offices for five providers.
The District is now moving forward with plans to add a new façade to the original building in keeping with the overall design of the campus, upgrade and expand parking for patients and staff and replace the current ambulance barn with a new and larger facility.
Dr. Lipsey Brings Health Care to Van Horn and Culberson County
Billy C. Lipsey, MD, was the first physician to practice medicine in Van Horn, Texas.
He believed the residents of Culberson County deserved local health care and in 1955 established the town's first medical clinic. Over the next 48 years he delivered over 5,000 babies,
made house calls and often accepted food in lieu of payment.
Dr. Lipsey was also instrumental in the development and operation of the original Culberson County Hospital completed in 1970.
In recognition of his commitment to the health and well-being of the families of Culberson County, and using funds contributed by the community and the District, a plaque honoring Dr Lipsey's contributions has been installed in the new Van Horn Rural Health Clinic.