University Medical Center has opened a new neighborhood clinic in Northwest El Paso.
The UMC West Clinic had its ribbon cutting ceremony Friday at 2:00 pm, after which County Commissioner Andrew Haggerty was the clinic's first patient.
The 45,000 square foot facility is located at 6600 North Desert Boulevard.
Hospital officials said 50,000 patients are expect to visit UMC West in its first year, after more than 100,000 patients visited the four other primary care clinics around the city.
"These primary health clinics are, in part, a strategy to offset increases we were seeing in the emergency rooms visits," County Judge Veronica Escobar said, "But also help keep people healthy once they come out of the hospital. And it's not just for people who have to go to the hospital, it's for everyone."
Officials gave ABC-7 a tour of UMC West, showing checkup and exam rooms and imaging labs with X-Rays and mammograms.
They told ABC-7 the clinic should be equipped to provide primary and preventative care, hopefully to keep patients from getting sick enough to visit the hospital.
"We want to make sure these services are accessible to people in the community. So we want to make sure services that will be offered at this clinic are closer to those we serve, versus having them drive down I-10 to have them go to some centrally located facility," said Jacob Cintron, president and CEO of University Medical Center.
The clinic opening follows a five-year long project where three UMC facilities are being built as part of a 2013 bond.
The first clinic is already operating in Far East El Paso. A third clinic is planned for Central El Paso.