A Time of Contrasts:
University Health System Opens Dialysis Center
Albertsons Closes Three Stores
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
The University Health Center took yet another step on Saturday, October 27, to provide dialysis services in our community. The new Southeast Dialysis Center is but a part of a much bigger System within the University Health System which entity's mission is primarily to provide health care to the public, more specifically, to the indigent. About 27% of our Bexar County population or 378,000 people are without any health care! The UHS is and has been for many years though, a teaching hospital, and a partner if you will, with the University of Texas Health Science Center!
Although the Southeast Dialysis Center serves the basic function of delivering of health care to the indigent, it also provides part of the teaching function to the University of Texas Health Science Center. This partnership brings substantial resources in the form of the U.T. Medical School, Dental School, School of Nursing and the School of Biomedical Services.
What today is really all about is another enhancement of the University Health System, a $450 million annual budget for 2001. Only one third of this budget comes from your property taxes. This University Health System has earned "Back to Back" "Top 50 Hospitals in America" status as reported by U.S. News and World Report in both the years 2000 and 2001.
On November 8, 2001, I took Albertsons to task for closing all three of the Southside locations. Obviously Albertsons can close any store it chooses and may do so with no consultation. However, it must realize a communications responsibility to the elected officials in the areas where they are closing down stores, especially when the only stores in town being closed are Southside stores.
Aside from the incredible investment of a ballpark $5 million per store that Albertsons walks away from, and in a very short period of time since opening each of these stores, no efforts were made to effectively communicate with the elected officials of the community Albertsons wants to abandon. No efforts have been made to communicate a plan of closing that would spell out the upkeep and maintenance plan in place, the marketing plan (in which we could play a constructive role) and just how the employees are going to be treated. The timing comes just before the holidays and is supposedly scheduled for a quick closing of December 6 and perhaps sooner for the pharmacies.
All in all, all three of the Albertsons stores are in excellent locations and portend great opportunity and potential for successor tenants or owners. The locations for the closing stores are on Southwest Military Drive and East Southcross. As many know, these are the busiest East-West arteries on the entire Southside. Here's hoping for some good to come out of the not so good in the Albertsons closings!