ORANGE, Texas — The term "hospital desert" is used to describe areas with limited access to a hospital. Some would say Orange County fits this as the county has been without a hospital since 2015, but all that is going to change in 2023.
Crews have already started clearing the way for a new hospital.
Plans are in the works for a location along Highway 62 and I-10 where the Gisela Houseman Medical campus will be going in.
Orange County Judge John Gothia said this new hospital will be a game-changer for county residents.
Judge Gothia said the new hospital with a convenient location right off the highway could be a life-saving move.
"It's welcoming news for us, and it's a good way to start out 2022,” Gothia said.
Gothia said the new hospital couldn't come at a better time as the population of Orange County is growing.
"Through all of the storms, through everything that happened, we still actually increased in population so I think we're just going to see a continuation of that," Gothia said.
This and also the fact Orange County hasn't had a hospital for years created a clear need for people who live here.
Gothia said thanks to the vision of one well-known doctor from Orange and some generous donations, plans for a new hospital have become a reality.
"Dr. Rutledge and his group really went to work on trying to put something together because they saw the need as well and through the generous donation of Ms. Houseman with the property that really got the ball rolling as well," Gothia said.
The new hospital will offer emergency services as well as outpatient services.
There will also be space for independent physicians, such as longstanding Orange Dr. Marty Rutledge.
Jessica Hill with the Orange County Economic Development Corporation is also excited about what this means for Orange County.
"The citizens of Orange County deserve the best medical care and we are pleased to welcome it back to the county," Hill said.
And for many people who live here, the new addition could be life-saving.
"A lot of times even though we're only 30 to 40 minutes away from Beaumont sometimes,” Gothia said. “That's life-saving minutes and to be able to take that time frame so that we'll be down to a ten-minute response to get somebody emergency services is a lot better."
Gothia also said the county plans to make the new hospital more easily accessible from all directions including Highway 62 and I-10.