Every idea has a why. Jay Mackey remembers November 30, 2006, like it was yesterday. That day is his “WHY.” He received a phone call that his sister collapsed. She lived near Baytown and Mackey was in Katy.
“I’m frantically driving down I-10 trying to get to her while they were rushing her to the hospital,” he said. He finally arrived where she was transported, only to learn that she did not survive.
“I knew the EMTs that showed up, worked on her and did everything they could to save her. I absolutely know they did. But she lived in Highlands and at the time, it was a good 20-25 minutes to the closest facility for a critical care,” he said. “That’s my WHY. I want people to be able to be close to quality medical care in case something happens.”
Twelve years later, Mackey and his partners opened Community Health 1st ER, located at 1101 East Boulevard, between State Hwy 225 and East 13th Street.
“We built this facility and named it Community Health 1st for a reason,” he said. “We felt healthcare, in general, is under-serving when it comes to the patient first, business second philosophy. We’re bringing that philosophy and vision to life.”
The free-standing ER facility employs six physicians with more than 100 years of combined experience and ER experienced nursing and technician staff. The facility can perform its own CT scans, X-rays, MRIs, in-house lab and pharmacy, and can treat everything from ankle sprains to stabilizing patients in trauma cases. Community Health 1st also provides migraine care.
“I’m frantically driving down I-10 trying to get to her while they were rushing her to the hospital,”
Jay Mackey, Founder CH1ER
“If someone walks in our doors, our doctors have more than likely seen it. There are no wait times. You come in and you go directly back,” said Mackey.
And when those patients walk into Community Health 1st, they walk into a full concierge-style hospitality-driven service.
“Our facility is warm and welcoming from your first interactions with our patient-intake registrar to your introduction into triage with our experienced registered nurses and then back to the board-certified physicians,” said Mackey.
“Every patient receives a complimentary medical screening to validate the necessity of treatment,” said Randy Haddox, patient advocate and vice president of Community Health 1st. “There’s that saying ‘Treat everybody like they’re someone because everybody is somebody to someone.’ That’s our philosophy, regardless of your circumstance.”
He said patients who visit ERs rarely come in under the best of circumstances.
“We’re really out for the best interest of the patient. We don’t want you to have a bad experience in the unfortunate event that you have to come here. That experience extends to your financial well-being. We don’t want you to leave anxious that you are going to receive a bill in the mail that is going to cause you strife over the next few months. That’s not what we are about.”
With a patient-driven service, medical staff can focus on the best interest of the patient without worrying about what treatments and procedures will be accepted by the insurance and what compensation will be paid back.
“We don’t focus on your ability to pay. People come to this facility seeking the best treatment, so we treat the patient first. Being a privately held facility, we are able to be more creative than a corporately owned facility with regards to billing,” Mackey said. “We work with the insured and uninsured. We won’t turn you away when you walk in our door.”
Although Community Health 1st does not accept Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare, that should not deter patients from visiting the facility in case of a medical emergency.
“Those entities don’t recognize free-standing ERs. People are sometimes afraid to go to free-standings ER’s because they are not in-network. That’s not the case,” Mackey explained. “Anyone who deems that they are in a medical emergency situation and goes to seek medical treatment, their insurance, by law has to reimburse at the insured’s in-network benefit level.”
With every patient, Community Health 1st staff will explain all services rendered, what will be charged to any insurance and how the care relates to their individual health plan.
“We’re patient advocates. We believe in treating everyone like they’re somebody because everybody is somebody to someone.” We don’t want to balance-bill you. Our experienced staff understands the importance of thorough documentation and charting to make sure everything is correct so that we get the maximum reimbursement allowed and soften the economic impact placed on the patient,” he said.
As its name implies, Community Health 1st also puts its service area in the forefront.
Recently, Community Health 1st made a big splash by becoming the title sponsor of the Deer Park Rotary Club’s annual Texas Independence Bicycle Tour and is also the title sponsor of Deer Park ISD student athletics.
“It’s important for us to be an integral part of the community. We want to be the premier provider of emergency services, but we also want to be involved. We’re a resource that’s here to help,” said Mackey.
Its parking lot also contains a helipad dedicated to Life-Flight emergencies.
“We have the helipad and we put it there for the community. We more than likely will never have to LifeFlight anyone in or out of here on our own. But, we know it’s a challenge for local emergency services to clear streets or find a parking lot or a field for them to land and take off. They can use ours,” Mackey said.
Located at 1101 East Boulevard, Community Health 1st ER is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more information, visit www.CH1er.com 346-954-6007.