East Texas medical clinic is ‘closing the gap,’ offering low-cost health care
“We take every patient who walks through the door.”
GUN BARREL CITY, Texas (KLTV) - The East Texas Community Clinic (ETCC) is expanding options for low-cost health care.
The ETCC is a non-profit community clinic with locations in Athens and Gun Barrel City.
According to the website, “East Texas Community Clinic provides comprehensive primary care and preventive care, including health, oral, mental health and substance abuse services to persons of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. Services provided will enhance the provision of primary care services in underserved urban and rural communities.”
Their goal is “to reach into the communities, take care of patients that nobody else was taking care of,” Dr. Douglas Curran said.
The clinic is open to any patient regardless of if you have insurance or if you can pay the initial $25 office visit fee. “If you’re able to pay it, that’s great. If you’re not able to pay it, that’s fine we’ll work with you,” East Texas Community Clinic CEO Glen Robison said. “We take every patient who walks through the door.”
After more than 40 years in private practice, Dr. Curran recognized the need to help rural, underserved areas of East Texas. “I didn’t realize how many people sleep in their cars,” Curran said. “We knew we had to do something.”
The original Gun Barrel City location opened in May of 2020.
“Oh, my goodness did they come. I mean we just, patients on top of patients,” Dr. Curran said. Since then, the clinic has had about 40,000 patient visits at both the Gun Barrel City and Athens locations. Of those, Curran said 70% have Medicaid or did not have insurance.
The demand required the clinic to open a new Gun Barrel City location this year, moving from a location with four exam rooms to the current location with 12 exam rooms.
The clinics also have a medical residency program to bring new doctors into the region.
“As an old man who’s at the end of his career, I must admit I’ve asked myself, ‘What in heaven’s name was I thinking?’ when we decided to go down this road,” Dr. Curran said about the challenging journey to serve the underserved. “It’s all worth it: to be a part of something that makes a difference like that for a community.”
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