The Commerce Journal

January 24, 2014

Top medical facility may be in university’s future

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — According to Texas A&M University-Commerce President Dr. Dan Jones, Commerce may be receiving a state-of-the-art medical facility in the coming years.

“The nature of healthcare continues to change,” he said, mentioning the advances in mental facilities and long-term healthcare. “Another development on the healthcare scene is our nursing department.”

Jones has been in contact with retired Col. Dennis Beal, director of Industry Alliances with the Texas A&M University system in bringing a medical facility to augment the needs of not only Hunt County residents, but residents all across the state.

Jones said Commerce fits into a rural development program, which is in partnership with A&M and the United States Department of Agriculture.

“This program gives long-term, low-interest loans for rural areas,” he said.

Jones said a facility such as this one is needed not only for Commerce, but also for the entire area as well.

“We don’t really have what you call a treatment facility,” he said, adding that Hunt County does not currently have a mental healthcare or long-term care facility, “These are areas where we have a clear and well-defined need. This is the type of facility we have in mind.”

Jones said this program was designed specifically for areas such as Commerce and Hunt County.

“The challenges of providing heath care in a rural area are challenging indeed.”

According to Jones, if the facility were to be built in Commerce, it would benefit the nursing department since specialized classes would be taught from the facility.

“We can grow incredibly if we have the type of facility and the support,” he said.

Along with providing long-term and mental healthcare, Jones said the facility would also be a positive because it is designed to generate revenue and also bring in skilled positions to Commerce.

“This would have a huge impact in attracting skilled workers into Hunt County,” he said. “It’s the people of Commerce who would benefit the most.”

Jones said if all goes well, a feasability assesment would be conducted from the latter part of 2014 until a green light is given to build the facility.

“We’re looking forward to three or four years,” he said. “I seek your patience moving forward.”