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Oil Boom's Impact on Medical Industry, Part 4

Andrews steps up to meet growing medical needs of growing community
Andrews -- Andrews is, without a doubt, growing fast. In fact, for the past two years, it's said to be the fastest growing "micropolitan" area in the state.

Wesley Burnett, director of economic development, said the population has grown at an estimated eight to ten percent over the past year or so. It's growth that's expected to continue for quite some time. "It's caused us to look at different things in new ways as far as infrastructure goes for transportation and housing," explained Burnett.
   
Medical care is no exception.
   
"We have family health clinics now that are already in existence, and they're slammed full and so now we're going to open a quick clinic downtown which is going to be more of an urgent care," said Russell Tippin, CEO of Permian Regional Medical Center.
   
Like most boomtowns, there's not enough doctors to meet the demands of a growing population.  Andrews is no exception.

"We actually have two new doctors coming to town in the next couple of months," said Tippin. "We had another one visit this weekend and e have another coming in two weekends to visit with us, so we have the possibility of adding four more to our current staff of 13."
   
But the largest expansion of all is the new, state-of-the-art hospital that will soon go up thanks to a $60 million bond that was recently passed by voters. Although construction hasn't even started, employees say it can't open soon enough.

"(I'm) ecstatic. I can't wait. I believe everybody else can't wait for the new hospital to come to Andrews," said hospital maintenance worker Royce Stille.

"It seems like it's taking forever to get it started, but we've gone through all our city council meetings, zoning commission meetings," added Tippin. "We're on the doorstep of seeing cement in the ground and steal sticking up in the air."   
   
The new hospital, which will ultimately replace the current hospital, is expected to be complete by early 2016. But Tippin isn't waiting until it's up and running to address the growing needs of a growing town. One way he said he's working to cut down on hospital traffic and wait times is with a new online program that allows a person to reserve a spot in the ER.

But until the new doctors arrive,  the new clinic is up and running, and the new hospital is complete, there will undoubtedly be obstacles to face. According to Tippin, he's up for the challenge.  "It's a good problem to have," he said.

To learn more about the new hospital in Andrews, click here.

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