East Side Clinic Expansion Fills Health Care Void

An east side health clinic that serves a neighborhood with enormous needs is about to double in size and add more doctors and services. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, the Denver Harbor Health Clinic, housed in an old cantina, is a remarkable story of perseverance and growth.

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Set in the middle of a predominately Hispanic neighborhood, the clinic opened its doors about 7 years ago, at that time operating six hours a week on a $60,000 annual budget. Now, the clinic is breaking ground on a 9,000 square foot expansion that includes 10 new examination rooms and a partnership with The Methodist Hospital that will move the hospital's Family Medicine Residency Program to the clinic. Daniel Montez is the clinic's chief executive officer.

"It will be four physicians and 12 residents. It's going to double our capacity. Next year we'll be able to do 11,000 encounters in addition to the 5,000 we do right now"

Dr. Don Briscoe is the clinic's medical director as well as the residency director of The Methodist Hospital's Family Residency Program. He says the expansion will relieve pressure on local hospitals.

"So many people right now are using the emergency room for their primary care services, which is really over-taxing those services. When we're here, we'll be able to take a lot of that burden off, provide good care, provide quality care much less expensively."

The Denver Harbor Clinic is the first of several envisioned for underserved neighborhoods by the private, non-profit Houston Community Health Centers. The expansion work will begin in July and should be complete before the end of the year.

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