Brazos Valley Nurse Practitioner Opens First Rural Clinic in 85 Years in Bedias
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Posted by: Erin Cusack
Today, Bedias residents welcomed the community’s first health care clinic in more than 85 years with the grand opening of B.I.S. Community Clinic. Bedias Mayor Mackie Bobo-White and State Representative Leighton Schubert were joined by residents, faith leaders, patients and community leaders, including the fire and police chiefs and local judges, at a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony sponsored by the Navasota Grimes County Chamber of Commerce. The clinic opening marks the culmination of a seven-year-long effort to bring much-needed health care to Grimes County.
“There was a real need for health care in Grimes County, and we knew that we could fill that void,” said Elizabeth Ellis, a doctorate-prepared Family Nurse Practitioner who brings with her years of experience opening and establishing outpatient clinics for Memorial Hermann Health System as well as other large institutions in Texas and Louisiana.
“Elizabeth Ellis is proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Robert Metzger, President of Texas Nurse Practitioners, the statewide association representing nurse practitioners. “At a time when rural health care practices are either struggling to survive or closing their doors for good, Elizabeth saw an open door and opportunity to bring the community together to support health care access for rural patients and communities.”
Even with this experience and steely determination, Ellis faced numerous barriers to opening her clinic’s doors.
“Especially as a nurse practitioner, there is a lot of red tape to navigate through,” Ellis said. “You have to be one who’s willing to persevere and make it, but think of how many more health care providers could deliver care to patients if Texas made this process easier.”
Ultimately, Ellis credits her success to the overwhelming outpouring of support from area hospitals, health care providers, and business leaders. She also praised the legislative leadership of State Senator Charles Schwertner and State Representative Leighton Schubert.
“The opening this week is the outcome of a truly community-wide effort,” Ellis said.
With each passing year, Texas' rural health care crisis continues to worsen. The B.I.S. Community Clinic opening comes on the heels of a recent wave of rural hospital closures across the state. Since January 2013, 18 rural hospitals have closed their doors in Texas. Lack of rural hospitals is not the only area where Texas falls short. Seventy-five percent of Texas counties — counties like Grimes County — are designated health professional shortage areas, which means there are not enough health care providers to serve the population in those areas. B.I.S. Community Clinic will help address this provider shortage in Grimes County.
B.I.S. Community Clinic, which stands for Bedias, Iola, and Singleton, will serve patients in Bedias and the surrounding communities. A full-service primary care clinic, Ellis will offer services such as physicals, vaccines, and wellness exams for children, women, and adults, as well as help patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol. With a focus on the unique needs of patients in her community, Ellis’ clinic will also provide home visits for homebound Medicare patients and is in the process of setting up an on-site Class D pharmacy to give patients a convenient location to pick up their medications and antibiotics.
“As a nurse practitioner, Elizabeth treats the whole person,” said patient and local resident Sharon Allen. “This is why she will make such an impact on her patients and the community.”