You won’t know the difference until you experience it

On that day I mentioned,

it’s been said that people are who they are because of their history and experiences, and I believe that I, and all our investors, are proof of that today. Our history and experiences have guided us to this point today, standing on this land and embarking on a new journey – a journey that plans on addressing the healthcare needs of our community. Our experiences have led to an idea of Laredoans responsible to Laredoans and taking care of each other. Laredoans investing and continuing to reinvest in Laredo, and Laredoans recognizing that we deserve more options, options that are focused on customer service and quality healthcare outcomes. We have a rich and prideful history and culture, a community of citizens capable of not only dreaming big, but realizing them as well, so I ask you, who else is better qualified to address the healthcare needs of our community but the community itself.

Fast forward 14 months and we find ourselves on that same piece of land fulfilling that dream. This time with a completed building that is fully equipped and staffed with the best healthcare and service-minded employees, ready and capable of treating our community’s emergency care needs.

Clear Choice Emergency Room opened its doors to its community on April 18th, 2019, and since then has provided emergency services to hundreds of patients. As is often the case, when you begin a new business, especially one the size of Clear Choice ER, you get busy and consumed with the daily organization, hiring, operations, and work to ensure its success, so much that you don’t take the time to sit back and take in what has been created. It was soon after we opened that I had the realization that we were not only serving our community but that we were exceeding our expectations when it came to providing our patients with excellent customer service and healthcare. It was then when I realized what our patients were saying regarding the care they received and their experiences at Clear Choice ER. Frequently, we were told that their family and/or friends had recommended Clear Choice ER to them. We realized after seeing the smiles and appreciation of our patient’s faces that we were doing something right. Being born and raised in Laredo and working in healthcare for over 20 years, I had heard the same familiar stories that seemed to permeate the community: stories of poor healthcare services, poor customer service and lack of empathy or sympathy by healthcare providers. These stories usually followed with comments such as

“that’s why I go out of town for my healthcare” or “you can’t get good customer service in Laredo”.

It is with great pride and humility that I get to say that we are shattering those myths and rewriting those stories.

Whether you are arriving by your personal vehicle or via ambulance, you are always greeted by Melissa, Adriana, Hilda or Aracely with a smile that is genuine and caring. Then you are escorted to your room where your nurse, Luis, Jessica, Rebeca, Carlos, Victor, Cristina, Courtney or Roger, will attend to your every need with compassion and treat you as one of their family. Your ER Technicians, Lupita, Steven, Shirley, and Manuel, will ensure you are always comfortable, and your lab work is performed quickly and accurately. Our amazing Radiology Technologists, Eric, Corissa, Juan, Rosie, and Anabel will guide you through the sometimes uneasy and uncomfortable exams needing to be performed, with a gentle hand and some reassuring words. Then you are diagnosed by a team of physicians who amongst them have accumulated over 40 years of Emergency Room care. Dr. Robert Flores (Medical Director), Dr. Jaime Piñero, Dr. Horacio Diaz and Dr. Khalid Ghazy, are here to not only evaluate, diagnose and treat every patient but to take the time to comfort any uneasiness and help educate their patients. Providing daily support and guidance is our Director of Nursing, Ernesto Hernandez, another Laredoan who has participated in Laredo’s healthcare arena for over 20 years and is guided by the same principles and goals. He has helped to create a workplace where every employee feels valued and appreciated.

The support and guidance does not end with our Clear Choice ER Administrators. Our local physician partners have continually provided their knowledge, experience and expectations to continually shape Clear Choice ER. Their compassion and best interest for their patients is unwavering, unmatched and at times unrelenting. The common message I received, and continue to receive, from each of them is that their patients not only deserve more, but the best. Our supportive and caring physicians include Dr. John Puig II (Board Member), Dr. Miquel Solis Jr. (Board Member), Dr. Ricardo Cigarroa, Dr. Mateo Reyes, Dr. Dagoberto Gonzalez, Dr. Liz Millan, Dr. Pablo Treviño, Dr. Anish Potty, Dr. Benson Huang, Dr. David Cruz and Dr. Gilberto Garza-Lozano. We realize that not only is the patient our customer, but so is the local physician, because we know that emergency care does not always end once a patient has left the emergency room.

Last, and certainly not least, is the guidance and support of our Board of Directors. A group of local individuals who dared to think big and, in the process, have broken the mold and idea that Laredoans are incapable of creating a successful healthcare organization from the ground up. Leading this team is Victor Vasquez Jr. (President/Chairman), Jacob Puig (Vice-President/Vice-Chairman), Gerardo Sanchez (Treasurer) and Armando Villarreal Jr. (Secretary). Together we have challenged each other to change the mind-set, raise expectations and demand a higher standard of emergency healthcare for our community, and continue looking with an eye to the future to address other community healthcare needs.

By Robert Castañeda Jr., CEO Clear Choice ER