On Aug. 3, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls celebrates five years of bringing quality, full-service medical care to the Hill Country community. At a time when many rural hospitals are closing their doors, the hospital and associated specialty clinics are growing thanks to the support and close relationship with the community.
It is a long-standing relationship that dates back to a local clinic staffed by Scott & White Healthcare medical providers prior to the 2013 creation of Baylor Scott & White Health. Over time, a need for more comprehensive medical services closer to home was identified.
“There weren’t a lot of options in Burnet County prior to the opening of the medical center,” explained Dawn Ruiz, MSN, RN, director of Quality and Patient Safety, who has worked at the medical center since before its opening. “People had to go to Austin or Llano for a lot of their care.”
Members of the Horseshoe Bay, Kingsland, Llano, Marble Falls, and Spicewood communities came together to create what is today known as the Marble Falls Development Advisory Board. The board raised $14 million for the construction of the medical center campus off of Texas 71.
Ruiz, who was working in health care operations for a Chicago-based organization but relocated to the Hill Country in 2014, recalled hearing about the new hospital under construction just up the road.
“I got in my car and drove by the new hospital site, then went home and immediately applied to work there. I was that impressed,” she said.
Taking care of each other
In large urban areas, many residents may take having comprehensive medical care close by for granted. That’s not the case at Baylor Scott & White-Marble Falls. The gratitude and embrace of the Hill Country community have been indispensable to the hospital’s success over the past five years.
Since opening, the hospital has performed more than 10,000 surgeries and 8,600 endoscopic procedures and cared for more than 84,000 in its Emergency Department. In addition, the hospital achieved a national designation for its high level of stroke care from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association last year. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability, and getting care quickly is essential.
“Having a hospital in the area that manages stroke allows patients experiencing stroke-like symptoms to get more timely care leading to improved outcomes,” Ruiz explained.
She believes the hospital has been able to offer a lot of reassurance to the community that good care is nearby, not only for strokes but a range of conditions.
“I can’t tell you how many times I hear patients tell me, ‘We’re so glad you all are here,’” she added.
The feeling is mutual. The community has not only provided financial support to create and sustain the not-for-profit medical center but an extremely engaged corps of volunteers who have offered critical support for the facility, its staff, and patients from day one.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this relationship has grown even closer. The hospital has served as a key collection site and resource for care for Burnet County. In turn, the community has responded with words of thanks and praise and shows of support, such as providing meals for the medical center’s care team.
A bigger future
“What we want to continue to be known for is providing safe, quality care for our patients,” Ruiz said.
Continuing to add services, capacity, and medical specialties is among the ways the medical center is planning to fulfill this commitment, and the facility will continue to transform based on the needs and input of the community.
Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls is proud of the health care it has provided in its first five years. But it is only just the beginning of making Hill Country health care better.