WAELDER — Residents in Waelder and the northeastern portions of Gonzales County have a new location to visit to get the cures for what ails them.
Sievers Medical Clinic has opened their newest branch just out of town on Hwy. 90, and it is a shining example of what the Gonzales County Health Foundation had in mind regarding rural health care in the area. The facility boasts four modern exam rooms and a full-functioning lab to give patients a one-on-one, professional experience.
“It's a much more comfortable space for our patients, a much more user friendly space for our staff,” said Holly Danz, the marketing director for Gonzales Healthcare Systems. “Everyone was excited to get in here and start utilizing this space. It is definitely a step up.”
The previous medical clinic was started 15 years ago and was a leased space through the local housing authority. While it was important to the community, the building was not ADA accessible and posed challenges to the staff and doctors that worked there. The board of directors of the health foundation realized this and made it a priority to increase the quality of product they provided. With some donated land by the City of Waelder and a vision spearheaded by former CEO Chuck Norris, the building was realized and is now open for business.
“With their generous contribution [from the health foundation], they are the reason why this building is standing here today. They funded the entire project,” explained Danz.
“I used to tell him I could work in a tent if I had to, but I'd rather not,” joked Sue Hanner, who is the clinic's full-time family practice provider. “We can function anywhere, but this is so amazing.”
Hanner is going on five years with the clinic, making the drive every day from her home in New Braunfels. While there is surely a bigger pay day to be had in larger urban clinics closer to home, she instead enjoys the experience of working closely with families and helping them with their needs.
“I have a strong passion for the people out here. I love rural health,” she said. “But once you get to know these families, you're reeled in and you don't want to let them go.”
“She just has that connection and it becomes like family,” added Danz. “It's not a doctor/patient relationship, it's more like a family relationship. And that goes a long way too with the patients, to have that bond with their provider.”
The new space provides the attention that has been expected from Gonzales Healthcare like well woman exams, well child visits, immunizations, prescription refills, preventative care, school physicals, and general sick care from infants to elderly.
“This facility affords us with the privacy that a patient deserves,” Hanner said. “Before, it wasn't very soundproof and it just wasn't as private. This way, we have the ability to take care of patients that any big clinic anywhere would have.”
The Waelder branch has a total affiliation with the Sievers Clinic in Gonzales. If Sievers is booked up, patients can make the drive out to Waelder. The medical systems between the facilities are coordinated, allowing for a fast transfer of medical records. And if Hanner needs to speak to a doctor in Gonzales, they are only a four-digit phone call away. Already, people are making the drive from nearby towns like Flatonia, La Grange and Schulenburg to take advantage of the rural medical advantage.
“It is a luxury for me out here because we are a smaller clinic and we see a smaller case load,” Hanner said. “We do have that luxury to get to know our patients a little bit better and have a relationship that you wouldn't be able to have in some of the bigger clinics. That's something that I've loved, being able to experience that in my career.”
Hanner dotes on her staff, who have been together four years. Registration Clerk Rita Quintero is the first voice you'll hear and face you'll see walking in. She is also bilingual, which is a huge help, Hanner said. And LVN Kristin Schuette has been there from the start of Hanner's tenure, rounding out a well functioning team.
“We welcome anybody to come here,” Danz said. “It doesn't matter if you're near or far.”
The clinic is located just east of Waelder at 1818 Hwy. 90 E. on the right side of the road. You can reach them at 830-788-7280.