Major hospital network set to open clinics in downtown, North Austin

Will Anderson |
Source: Austin Business Journal

Baylor Scott & White Health is setting up shop in downtown Austin.

The state’s largest nonprofit health care system, which for years has operated mostly on the city’s suburban periphery, plans to later this month open a pair of urban clinics, including one in the heart of downtown. A 6,000-square-foot clinic at 200 E. Cesar Chavez Street, on the ground floor of the parking garage east of skyscraper One Eleven (previously known as 111 Congress Ave.), is scheduled to open Jan. 30 and will eventually expand to 10,000 square feet.

Separately, a 10,000-square-foot clinic at 2608 Brockton Dr., just east of The Domain off Burnet Road, is slated to open Jan. 23 and will eventually be about 17,000 square feet.

The new clinics will give Baylor Scott & White a presence in two dense parts of the nation’s fastest-growing big city, according to Colleen Sundquist, vice president of clinic operations for the Austin-Round Rock region.

“There’s a great opportunity in the downtown area with such a dense population, and at this point there are not many health care providers,” she said. “We are constantly looking at opportunities in different communities where we have a gap in service and where we’d like to expand. This rose to top of the list.

“We chose the location [near The Domain] for the same reason — seeing a lot of businesses coming into that area as well as housing development,” she added.

BS&W has been steadily growing its local presence, including buying the former Lakeway Regional Medical Center near Lake Travis in 2016. It employed about 1,485 people in the area in mid-2016.

The downtown clinic will be an “innovation hub” for Baylor Scott & White, Sundquist said. That includes features not available at any other BS&W clinics, such as an on-demand app for virtually consulting with nurses. Baylor Scott & White uses Pager, developed by a New York company and available for Android and iOS, which also allows users to request a home visit.

“It is another setting for us to provide care,” Sundquist said. “With the Austin area growing so quickly, this gives us another platform to provide care in someone’s home or work setting.”

Patients will also be able to check in to the clinic online ahead of visiting in person and review their medical records with physicians via large interactive displays in the exam rooms. Baylor Scott & White will evaluate technologies tested at the downtown Austin clinic to see whether it wants to roll them out across its 900-plus locations statewide.

The downtown clinic will employ about 20-30 people and the one off Burnet Road will employ up to 50 people once fully staffed, Sundquist said.

Dr. Skye Clarke is supervising physician of the downtown clinic. A head physician has not yet been named for the North Austin location.

Austin architecture firm Haddon+Cowan designed both of the new Baylor Scott & White clinics and is handling more work for the organization. Dallas-based MEDCO Construction was the general contractor for both builds.

Baylor Scott & White is based in Dallas with its health service company based in Temple, about 75 miles north of Austin. It was formed in 2013 by the merger of Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare. It is one of three major hospital networks operating in the Austin area, along with St. David’s HealthCare and Seton Healthcare Family.

Baylor Scott & White recently opened a clinic at 5000 W. Slaughter Lane in the Circle C area southwest of downtown, its 19th clinical location in the Austin metro (the location near The Domain will be No. 20 and the downtown clinic will be No. 21). It has also submitted plans to build the first hospital in Pflugerville, a suburb north of Austin, although Sundquist declined to elaborate.