VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System
The VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VATVCBHCS) is in its transition phase from the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) and will become an independent VA health care system by October 2010. The VATVCBHCS is comprised of 20 counties in far south Texas and encompasses the Laredo, McAllen, Harlingen, and Corpus Christi Outpatient Clinic service areas.
A new 120,000 s.f. Ambulatory Surgery Center is being constructed in Harlingen with a scheduled completion of October 2010. The Center will consist of six Operating Rooms, colonoscopy and cystoscopy suites. Additionally, most medical and surgical specialty clinics will function in the new Ambulatory Surgery Center. There are large outpatient clinics in each of the four cities listed above that offer predominantly Primary Care Services and some specialty services.
Inpatient medical/surgical/mental health services are provided through a contract with two local community hospitals. The VA providers coordinate patient admission with the local community hospital and VA providers assist with discharge planning. The VA providers do not round at the community hospitals nor do they take call. The clinic hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Contingent upon workload, the Ambulatory Surgery Center may remain open until 6:00 pm.
Adjacent to the Outpatient Clinic and the new Ambulatory Surgery Center in Harlingen is the University of Texas Regional Academic Health Campus (UT RAHC). The VA and UTRACH have an academic partnership and VA serves as a teaching and rotation sight to internal medicine residents. In 2010 occupational health residents will begin rotating through VA and in 2012, psychiatry residents will begin rotating through VA. The State of Texas just approved the creation of a full medical school in Harlingen. Therefore we are in the process of developing a full residency program with UT.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley (Harlingen/McAllen) of Texas offers low cost of living, housing is very inexpensive and there is no state income tax. The school system is very good. One of the more popular Gulf of Mexico beaches, South Padre island is only 35 minutes from Harlingen offering beach activities, deep sea fishing, and bay fishing. The Lower Rio Grande Valley was rated the 12th safest area by a national rating agency.