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Former Big Box Store To Be Health Care ‘Supermarket’

By Joel Thomas CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - You can see vacant big box store buildings in many, older north Texas neighborhoods. Often the spaces in the strip malls next to them are empty too. Often in those areas, its not just an absence of businesses, either. There is also no easily accessible health care. Many people have one car they have to take to work, or no car at all.

“When I was raising the kids and we’d go to the doctor we’d say, ‘I’ll wait to get this, because you don’t want to drive across town to go to your pharmacy that your insurance wants,” said Cynthia Woodard, a mom living in central Arlington. “You can’t go across town to a pharmacy or something — even lab work.”

Tarrant County and JPS Health Network are trying something different in a mostly vacant strip center that once held an Albertson’s grocery on Arkansas Lane in Arlington . The county is leasing the space to JPS for what’s called a medical home project. It will be a health care super market with everything from doctors to pharmacists, x-rays to eye care.

“Having centered care, a centered facility where you can get two or three different exams, you can get your pharmacy pick up all there, it just makes it much better for people to get health care,” said Robert Earley, CEO of JPS Health Network.

Where most just see a big, vacant space JPS sees a location next to their patients that’s easy to access. And, with more vacant space in the buildings next door, JPS thinks the medical home will be healthy for the economy, too.

“There will be downstream operations that come, others that come as well,” Earley said. “So, JPS often times serves as an economic stimulus for that area where you had a vacant center now all of the sudden you see economic development.”

If the Arlington medical home works, it will be the model for more Tarrant County JPS medical home projects in the future.  JPS hopes to have the clinic opened by October 2014.

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