SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — This city is taking the next step toward possibly bringing a hospital to the Laguna Madre area.

The City of South Padre Island approved the formation of an ad hoc Healthcare Committee Jan. 8 during a city council meeting.

The purpose of the ad hoc Healthcare Committee is to put together a group of people from the healthcare industry who can come up with a roadmap for the Island’s needs.

“I think a committee that’s focused on this issue is the best way to proceed at this time for the community,” City of South Padre Island Mayor Patrick McNulty said during the meeting.

According to EDC Director Darla Lapeyre, the board completed a feasibility study last fiscal year and is in the middle of a community health needs assessment.

“It’s (the ad hoc Healthcare Committee) to look at the different options of what the product would look like and then also how to bring it to fruition — how to put some creative funding out there,” Lapeyre said. Lapeyre made a suggestion to council members that she and EDC board member Beverly Skloss are interested in being on the ad hoc Healthcare Committee.

During the meeting, Dr. Richard Joe Ybarra, an Island resident since 1994, also volunteered to be a member of the new committee.

The council plans to set up the ad hoc Healthcare Committee through an application process.

“I’m very excited that we’re going to do this,” Ybarra said. “I want everyone on the Island to not have to go to Brownsville or Harlingen to get primary care, and I also want to bring specialists in on certain days of the week.”

Alana Hernandez