Construction at new Emergency Care Unit, Clinic expansion in Athens begins

Rendering of new emergency room building
Nov 17, 2021
Raquel Torres

Athens will be home to an emergency care center later this year as the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System has begun construction.

The new facility will feature new exam rooms, trauma rooms, a full-service imaging center and a laboratory for easier access to test results.

The clinical staff will be composed of board-certified emergency medicine physicians and registered nurses, as well as radiology and laboratory technicians.

The new Athens Emergency Care Center, set to be located at the Christus Trinity Clinic site at 1505 Highway 19, will also be accepting ambulance traffic.

Jason Proctor, president of Christus Mother Frances Hospital and Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, said the health system is answering the needs of patients in Athens and surrounding areas.

“Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System has continued to be a major driver of economic development in Athens and the surrounding area. The new facility will add jobs, reinforcing Christus Trinity Mother Frances’ commitment to the growth of the Athens area. With the addition of the emergency care center, Christus Trinity Mother Frances will have approximately 50 employees in Athens,” Proctor said.

Christus Trinity Clinic will also be expanding facilities onsite by adding more than 10,000 square feet. Primary care providers currently located at the clinic, Dr. Terri Eckert, Dr. James Qualls, Dr. Karah Coker, Nurse Practitioner Rebecca Powell, and Nurse Practitioner Brandi Jones, will continue practicing alongside specialty providers in cardiac, orthopedics, vascular, pain management, podiatry, endocrinology and sleep medicine.

Terri Eckert, Christus Trinity Clinic primary care lead physician in Athens, said he is proud to be a part of the health system.

“Our health system has been committed to providing quality health care in this community and across East Texas for many years. Our family is ingrained in this community and proud to call Athens home, and we are proud this Emergency facility will be a blessing to not only our community but surrounding communities who need access to this care,” he said.

Ryan Tamula, administrative director of emergency care centers at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System, said having access to high-quality emergency care for a community like Athens and surrounding areas is a much-needed addition and a true lifesaver for patients.

“We are grateful for such a community partnership,” Proctor said. “We have to give thanks to (Athens) Mayor Toni Clay, (Henderson County) Judge Wade McKinney and Economic Development Executive Director Joanie Ahlers, among many others for their willingness to work together with us to ensure the people of this city and the surrounding areas can get the lifesaving care they need when they need it.”

Clay said the community is blessed by the presence of so many exceptional health care workers and facilities.

“It says a great deal about the unique geographical position of our city and the belief Christus has in us that they have committed to expanding their presence here with a 24-hour emergency care center. We’re very excited about the project and what the future holds for healthcare in Athens,” Clay said.

JT Brown, chief of emergency medicine for Christus Mother Frances Hospital, said he’s excited to extend the healing ministry by bringing emergency services to the area.

“Our work each day is focused on continuing to raise the standard of emergency care in East Texas, and the opening of the emergency care center in Athens is another step toward that end. We can’t wait to get the new facility up and running so that we can better serve this community,” Brown said.