Regents Give the Green Light on Community Health Center Expansion

In addition to exam rooms, offices will be added to the existing space for programs like diabetic and health education.

In addition to exam rooms, offices will be added to the existing space for programs like diabetic and health education.

The Larry Combest Community Health & Wellness Center has received an award of $5 million to help build, expand and improve the center. The Board of Regents recently authorized the construction of a 10,000-square-foot addition to the existing 6,450-square-foot facility.

The award is part of a series of capital investments that are made available to community health centers under the Affordable Care Act. The Combest Center is one of six health care centers in Texas to receive the full funding amount.

“During our last trip to Washington, D.C., garnering support for the Combest Center among the Texas delegation was one of our top priorities,” said Chancellor Kent Hance. “We are grateful for the support of Congresswoman Kay Granger and Congressman Randy Neugebauer, who helped us secure this important funding, along with many others.”

Employment at community health centers has increased 15 percent in the past three years with the help of the Affordable Care Act and Recovery Act. The Combest Center will use the funds to expand and create 15 new staff positions when construction is completed.

“The School of Nursing has been working on the development and expansion of this nurse-managed center for more than 10 years,” said Christina Esperat, R.N., Ph.D., associate dean for clinical services and clinical engagement. “This grant will allow us to move much further on achieving the strategic goals of the school relating to the Combest Center.”

The expansion will include nine new medical exam rooms, blood draw/lab space and a procedure/treatment room. In addition, 14 offices will be added to serve case management/behavioral health, diabetic education and the clinical administration staff as well as a large meeting room and teaching kitchen for health education.

“This expansion is going to let us better fulfill our mission to serve the community with affordable high-quality health care,” said Linda McMurry, R.N., DNP, executive director of the Combest Center. “Within two years after the project is completed, we will be able to increase the number of patients we see to more than 25,000.”

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