Local developers broke ground Thursday on a new freestanding emergency department that could bring up to 30 new jobs to Sherman.
The new emergency room, which will be called Texoma Emergency Center, will be located at 2022 N. Hwy. 75, near the northwest corner of the intersection of Taylor Street and U.S. Highway 75. Local developers Casey Shires and Deno Maggi are working with Nutex Health and Salida Health on getting the emergency department up and running. And during the groundbreaking event, developers introduced Dr. Alex Roby, who will serve as the facility’s medical director.
“I pride myself on what we call a door-to-doc time,” Roby said. “So the minute the patient comes in, I’m out there greeting them. I don’t want to get in the way of the nurse doing her assessment, but I’m listening during those questions, letting them know that the doctor’s present during that time period. It’s always a stressful situation when you come in, whether it’s an earache for your child or you’ve got a broken limb. I want you to know you’re going to be taken care of — your pain will be addressed quickly.”
The developers said they plan to add 25 to 30 different staff positions over the next few months and will be advertising for employees on social media. Shires said construction is going to start next week with plans to have the facility open early next year.
“We’re looking at six-ish months to build it, so we’re going to book it,” Shires said. “We want to hone in on the local. We want to be a local presence. We want everyone in this county and this town to know they’re coming to Dr. Alex Roby and his staff and that’s a big deal for us.”
Salida Health Executive Vice President Derek Lemaster said the physicians will have an ownership stake in the emergency department, which is not something they get at big hospitals.
“So they’re incentivized, they provide better care and we don’t micromanage them from the top down,” Lemaster said. “We allow them to treat the patient how best they see fit. So it makes better doctors and happier patients — that’s the model.”
Shires and Maggi said they’d purchased about two acres of the land along Hwy. 75 where the Kroger Co. discussed putting a 123,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace store last year. Kroger’s capital committee ultimately passed over the proposed Sherman location in favor of other markets. Shires said he hopes the construction of the freestanding emergency department will spark further development like that along that section of roadway.
“We’d like to see something happen on the grocery store side,” Shires said. “We’ve got a couple of grocery stores here (in Sherman) that are getting a little old and definitely there’s talk of them wanting to do a new one, and this would be the perfect site.”
As part of the construction, the developers are planning to add a street that would connect the planned medical facility to Travis Street.
“The whole point is we never do something for one thing,” Shires said. “We hope to develop out this site on the long term. We haven’t bought anything yet, but we are talking about it. We’re hoping to help get a grocery store to this site — (that) is one of the things we’re looking at, and some more retail.”
As with other freestanding emergency departments operated for profit, Nutex Health’s Dr. Kyle Peterson confirmed that Texoma Emergency Center will not accept Medicare or Medicaid. Freestanding emergency departments are not recognized by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services as they are not bound by federal emergency department regulations and do not have to comply with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
“We want that to be out there because people get really upset when they come in,” Peterson said of when patients find out an emergency department doesn’t accept Medicare or Medicaid. “But at the end of the day, we’ll treat everybody — anybody that walks in. If you have an emergency, you’re going to get treated.”
The new emergency department could be the third such option for local residents in Sherman as Select ER opened a freestanding emergency room late last year on the north side of the Sherman Town Center development and the Emergency Center of North Texas freestanding emergency department is planned as part of the Sherman Crossroads development on the city’s south side. Roby said he doesn’t see those as competition as he feels the community has a need for all three facilities, in addition to the local hospitals.
“We’re an underserved medical community and anything we can do to add to patient care in the area is what we’re here for,” Roby, who currently works for AllianceHealth in Durant, said. “I’ve worked in Durant for the last six years and they’re overwhelmed. We’re here to serve the community.”