BS&W reachs out to the Hill Country

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander
Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Marble Falls opened at 810 Texas 71 West on Aug. 3, 2015. The new facility and BS&W – Llano serve hospital patients from Johnson City to San Saba in the Hill Country Region.



By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center and Specialty Clinic in Marble Falls may still have that brand-spanking-new feel when you walk in the door, but BS&W has been open for business at its US 281 location for five years and has a story to tell.

“When the clinic opened, it was the Scott & White Specialty Clinic; Scott & White Healthcare had not joined with the Baylor Health Care System yet,” said Bramer Owens at a BS&W Media Day Wednesday, Nov. 15.

Owens, CEO for the BS&W Hill Country Region, was there with Tim Ols, president of the region, and Deke Jones, media manager.

The region stretches 75 miles from Johnson City to San Saba and includes the Marble Falls hospital that opened Aug. 3, 2015 and BS&W Llano, a hospital in operation since 1959. Beyond services at seven primary care clinics, the specialty clinic and two hospitals, the system is reaching out to share wellness information to keep people healthy.

“The clinic opened in 2013 and started with five specialists,” said Ols. “Now we have 28 and we are continuing to recruit. We will have had nearly 150,000 visits to clinics by the end of the year.”

The hospital has 46 beds and a 10-bed emergency room, with ER arrivals already outstripping the space, he said.

“The important thing is, people in the Hill Country don't need to leave town for medical care anymore,” said Ols. “Having worked in small hospitals before, I can say this level of specialties is amazing. In particular neurology and endoscopy are hard to find.”

On the economic development side, Ols said the Marble Falls hospital and clinic have created 433 new full-time jobs and 22 part-time jobs and the campus still has 56 openings.

“We estimate the economic impact has been $75 million; dollars that were flowing out to Austin and elsewhere that are now here.”

Among the hospital's biggest challenges are the 10 percent of patients who are uninsured, recruiting staff that are a perfect fit for the community and affordable housing.

“There are a lot of nice houses in the $450,000 range,” explained Ols. “But there are not as many in the $150,000-$200,000 range. The school system has the very same problem.”

In addition, Medicare, by design, does not cover the cost of care, he noted: “We have twice the number of residents over the age of 65 than anywhere else.”

Ols said the staff had been praised in the system for their enthusiasm in responding to any need in the region, sharing information and planning teams for action.

Jones said his department is always looking for commonalities among the patient population to get the word on health information out.

“We have our own blog,, filled with practical information,” said Jones. “It is a collaborative effort across the system.

“The blog has 25,000 monthly page views and 620,000 followers.”

Since November is Diabetes Month, Jones said some of the new information concerns both Type 1 and Type 2 forms of the disease. It addresses an age range as well. One current article concerns relief of back pain during pregnancy, another with COPD patients increasing lung capacity. They introduce the work of medical staff behind the scenes and advise patients on how to get the most out of their doctor visits.

“We have articles on protecting your hearing at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, race car roars that can challenge the Marble Falls drag boat races,” he said.

“You can find us on Facebook and Twitter, @BSWHealth.

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