Lone Star Circle of Care opens innovative community health center
Lone Star Circle of Care hosted a ribbon cutting and open house on February 25 for its newest clinic at what used to be Taylor West End School, which was built in the 1920s. Despite the cold, the community showed up in coats and scarves to celebrate the opening of the clinic in Taylor, Texas.
The clinic sits at the center of eastern Williamson County, which has been identified as a health equity zone, an area where disparities in income, wealth and access to resources lead to worse health outcomes. Behavioral health, stress and well-being remain a top health priority in the county along with chronic disease factors and the accessibility and affordability of healthcare.
“The opening of this clinic is an intentional and unique example of bringing care to where people are living, working, worshiping and playing,” said Edward Burger, PhD, President and CEO of St. David’s Foundation.
Lone Star has transformed Taylor’s former West End School, closed in the 1980s, to provide health care and community-based services to eastern Williamson County. The City of Taylor recognized the need for access to an integrated community-based health service model and donated the facility to Lone Star to renovate, demonstrating the value of private-public partnerships to address community health equity.
“The West End School building has always been a benefit to the Taylor community, from its days focused on education to its new life providing health care and community-based support services,” said Jon Calvin, CEO of Lone Star Circle of Care. “We are grateful that City leaders entrusted us with this revitalization project.”
The clinic serves to remodel what care looks like by creating a hub for health that is built for the specific needs of a community and imbeds social services within its structure. There are nine exam rooms and two behavioral health offices which will serve an estimated 5,000 adult and pediatric patients annually. St. David’s Foundation provided capital funding to support the renovation of this site, and is excited to support this clinic hub going forward. This model of care is closely aligned with the Foundation’s strategic priorities, focused on serving rural residents with physically co-located health and social service programs that are aimed at improving health for vulnerable children, their families and aging populations.
Programs will include Head Start and Early Head Start, a Meals on Wheels program, a senior center, and urban farming. This clinic itself will offer primary care along with expanded behavioral care, including trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and parent-child interactive therapy.
St. David’s Foundation believes in supporting clinics to serve as community hubs for health and reducing the impact of social determinants of health, which are the conditions outside of the healthcare system that impact health outcomes and risks. Community health centers hold a unique position to address non-clinical factors such as transportation, housing, and food insecurity, and connect underserved populations to needed services.
“This project is the embodiment of how clinics can function as community hubs for health through a model of care that focuses on the ‘whole person,’” said Jesse Ancira, member of St. David’s Foundation Board of Trustees and former mayor of Taylor. “Lone Star Circle of Care’s Taylor West End School Clinic is a bold and inspiring asset for Taylor and its surrounding community, and we look forward to seeing the impact of all of the work to advance health equity, eliminate barriers, and create opportunities that promote optimal health across our region.”