Hospitals are heart of healthy, vibrant communities

By William R. Blanchard - Guest Column
May 10, 2017 at 4:27 p.m.

William R. Blanchard

William R. Blanchard   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

The theme of this year's National Hospital Week celebration is The Healing Heart of Healthcare. This is a fitting theme as hospitals are often at the very heart of communities, contributing to their physical, emotional and financial health. During National Hospital Week, DeTar Healthcare System celebrates more than 1,500 physicians and employees who work together 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure quality medical care is available to those who need it.

National Hospital Week was established in 1953 and this year, it will be celebrated from May 7 through Saturday, May 13. The dates overlap the celebration of National Nurses Week and were chosen to coincide with Florence Nightingale's birthday, honoring her role in revolutionizing hospital care in the mid-1800s. These celebratory weeks give us an opportunity each year to pay tribute to the 5.6 million physicians, nurses, therapists, food service workers, volunteers and many more who care for their communities with skill, dedication and compassion.

DeTar Healthcare System is proud to serve the South Texas Crossroads community with high-quality clinical services that continue to expand, year after year. In 2016, our hospital touched 108,139 lives through inpatient and outpatient care. We performed more than 9,600 surgeries, delivered more than 1,300 babies and treated nearly 42,000 patients in our ER.

Additionally, our patients have access to more specialty services closer to home than ever before. To maintain the level of service and the quality of cardiac care needed in our community, we continued an agreement with UT Physicians group in Houston to provide full-time cardiothoracic surgery coverage for our patients and added electrophysiology services so patients needing rhythm studies are able to have them done in Victoria.

To protect our newest residents, we entered into an agreement with Onsite Neonatal Partners to offer new mothers the comfort that comes from knowing DeTar Hospital North provides 24/7 in-house physician coverage for all newborns.

Thirteen new physicians joined the medical community during the past year, including emergency medicine physicians, Aristeo Duens, M.D.; Edward Lee, M.D.; and Whitney Baker, M.D.; family practice physicians Andrea Gerla, M.D.; and Karla Vitale, D.O.; family medicine residents Inez Elder, M.D.; Daniel Espinosa, M.D.; Wei Han, M.D.; Sandra Nweke, M.D.; Chike Ochieze, M.D.; and Janaki Samaraweera, M.D.; general surgeon Manuel Ruiz, M.D.; hospitalist Kalpesh Bhesaniya, M.D.; and orthopedic surgeon Michael Perez, M.D.

To support and enhance services, DeTar invested more than $13 million to build a 22-bed emergency department, refurbish the old emergency department - creating a new 12-bed observation unit, remodel the fourth-floor patient rooms, install new video towers in the operating rooms, restore the Juan Linn Elementary school building to house the DeTar Family Medicine Residency Program, update the technology in the radiology department, expand parking areas at DeTar Hospital Navarro; install a new infant security system and taking steps to maintain Level III NICU status at DeTar Hospital North; and open a new walk-in clinic and primary care office - DeTar On Demand - on the North side of Victoria.

As DeTar continuously evaluates how to best respond to patient needs, it also gives back to the community. In the last year, DeTar Healthcare System has provided nearly $12 million in charity and uncompensated care to the area's most in need residents. The hospital also leaves a sizable footprint of $3.5 million in property and business taxes, which in turn funds civic resources and services.

DeTar Healthcare System also enjoyed working with a number of local nonprofit and community organizations during the last year, including the Victoria Independent School District, Victoria County United Way, Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Port Lavaca Chamber of Commerce, Goliad Chamber of Commerce, city of Victoria Bootfest, Victoria Symphony, Victoria Bach Festival, Victoria Fine Arts, Victoria Area Nurse Practitioners, Pilot International of Cuero, Texas, Victoria Texas Independent Film Festival, Victoria ISD Education Foundation, Junior League of Victoria, Victoria County Livestock Show, Mid Coast Hurricane and Disaster Conference, American Heart Association, Children's Discovery Museum and more. Additionally, DeTar Healthcare System provides the community with an active Senior Circle program with 1,836 members

National Hospital Week also serves as a reminder that hospitals truly matter in our society. From providing treatment and comfort to the sick, to welcoming new life into the world, hospitals are indeed at the heart of healthy and vibrant communities.

DeTar Healthcare System is proud to acknowledge and celebrate our employees, medical staff and volunteers and other healthcare providers, who tirelessly serve the community and personify the healing heart of healthcare. We thank them for their unwavering commitment which gives us a strong foundation for continued success.

William R. Blanchard, FACHE, is the chief executive officer of DeTar Healthcare System. He may be contacted at



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