Central Health, Travis County’s hospital district for low-income residents, opened a new specialty care clinic in January.

The Capital Plaza Speciality Clinic is located near I-35 at 51st Street and offers treatment for lung and respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disease, infectious disease and palliative care.

Zooming in

Central Health provides health care services to Travis County residents at or below 200% of the federal poverty line, which is about a $60,000 annual income for a family of four.

The new clinic is part of Central Health’s long-range plan to add more direct health care services to areas in Travis County that lack sufficient health care options, particularly on the east side.

Adults in many communities east of I-35 and US 183 have higher rates of conditions such as asthma, heart and obstructive pulmonary disease, and poor mental and physical health than the county average, according to Central Health data.

The context

Unlike other hospital districts in Texas, Central Health has agreements with private hospitals to carry out services instead of operating its own major hospital. However, in 2019 the Texas Legislature gave Central Health permission to provide direct services to patients while still working with local hospitals.

Quote of note

“For years, our patients have faced unacceptable wait times for even common specialty care—weeks or months to get appointments for everything from allergies and bronchitis to cancers and ulcers,” said Alan Schalscha, Central Health’s chief medical officer, in a news release. “Central Health realized it could only solve this problem if we built our own clinics and hired our own physicians, nurses and clinical support staff.”

What’s next

Central Health will open its third speciality care clinic in the former city-run Rosewood-Zaragosa Health Center later this year. Central Health is also currently remodeling the old Sears flagship store located at 1000 E. 41st St., Austin, in the Hancock center. By late 2025, the building will be used as Central Health’s new administrative and clinical headquarters.