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Culberson Hospital is located in Van Horn, Texas, approximately 121 miles and 2 hours east of El Paso, and 432 miles and 6 hours west of San Antonio on Interstate 10. It is the only hospital in a 4-county area including Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties. Culberson Hospital is classified as a special acute care hospital, licensed by the State of Texas and certified by Medicare as a "Critical Access" hospital. The hospital is licensed for 14 inpatient acute beds, all of which may be used as "swing beds" or skilled nursing beds under Critical Access regulations. The hospital provides critical emergency and ambulance services for Culberson County residents and visitors. In addition, area residents can obtain a wide range of inpatient and outpatient health care services at the hospital, minimizing the need to travel long distances for health care. This is particularly important for older patients and their families who find travel to other communities very difficult.
A facility assessment completed in 2007 revealed that the original 1970 hospital structure no longer met current hospital building codes and was neither sized nor configured to efficiently accommodate the services provided, or for the planned addition of new services. The Culberson County Hospital District Board took their concerns to the county taxpayers in May 2008 and received overwhelming support for the issuance of $7.5 million in bonds to construct a new addition to the hospital, provide for the purchase of needed new equipment, and make any renovations to the existing building that the budget would allow.
About $6.2 million of the funds raised were used to construct and equip a 14,500 square foot addition to the hospital, including a new inpatient unit, an imaging suite including general radiology and CT to meet the needs of inpatients, swing bed patients, outpatients, and emergency patients, and an Emergency department with 2 major treatment rooms and 3 minor treatment rooms. Remaining funds were used to renovate the north side of the original hospital building adding automatic doors at the main entrance, and a new, larger physical therapy area. The admissions area was also updated with a new reception desk and a private cubicle for patient interviews, a comfortable waiting area, and accessible restrooms.
Building on this foundation, the District Board is now working toward the construction of a new 6,800 square foot Van Horn Rural Health Clinic to replace the modular building currently housing the clinic. The project is scheduled for completion in July 2015.
Although the community has always been supportive of the hospital and rural health clinic, operating these facilities was a challenging task. Faced with the closure of the hospital in 2004, the District Board entered into a partnership with Preferred Management Corporation of Shawnee, Oklahoma, to lease the hospital and clinic, and assume the financial risk of operations. Preferred invested the resources necessary to update equipment, recruit quality healthcare professionals, and implement sound financial management practices which stabilized operations and established the foundation for today's thriving healthcare enterprise.