The Port Isabel City Commission on Tuesday supported a development group’s proposal to build a 25-bed, critical care hospital in Port Isabel. The round-the-clock, critical care complex would serve residents throughout the Lower Laguna Madre and would include an imaging center where patients could receive CAT scans and PET scans, as well as classroom space for medical students to use for studying and training.
The facility would also feature a water egress to allow for emergency patients to be transported to the hospital via the water during periods of heavy auto traffic.
“The entire community needs health care,” said developer Roy Bailey, adding that the hospital would allow for up to two-day stays. Patients could take up to two days to become stabilized; at that point, if more care is needed, then the patients could be transferred to larger hospitals in either Brownsville or Harlingen.
“it’s not a long-term care facility,” Bailey said of the proposed hospital. Bailey said the hospital would likely employ 75 fulltime positions; and that part-time positions would also be available. Fellow developer Russell Salinas said the group has identified two properties in Port Isabel but he did not disclose their exact locations.
Salinas noted that an outside developer has expressed interest in building an assisted living facility near the hospital complex. Salinas then explained that the group would rely on various funding mechanisms, including: the EB-5 economic development program, the New Market Tax Credit program and third-party investors.
“I love the idea. I think it’s tremendous for the area,” said Commissioner J.J. Zamora, adding that the City should consider offering the development group a tax abatement.
Mayor Joe E. Vega replied that Rio Grande City established a hospital district and levied a small tax to help fund their hospital. The developers plan to request financial assistance from the Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation to contribute toward the feasibility study, which will cost around $50,000. Salinas said the group expects to invest between $30 and $45 million into the hospital complex.