Christine Lee, NBC 5 Grand Prairie Reporter
The Texas General Hospital in Grand Prairie opened earlier this year and has been busy ever since filling a void by providing much needed health services to people who live in the area.
For more than a decade, Grand Prairie was the largest city in the United States without an acute care hospital, but now has a hospital certified for Medicare and Medicaid.
Texas General Hospital, which opened in January near Jefferson Street and Great Southwest Parkway, is now Medicare- and Medicaid-certified.
Hasan Hashmi, hospital chairman, said about 40 percent of the hospital's volume is Medicare and Medicaid patients. Until it was certified, Texas General Hospital provided many of the services for free.
Councilman Mark Hepworth said the city has needed such a facility for years.
"Forever, we've had the title -- and I think it's been 10 or 15 years -- 'the largest city in America without a hospital,'" he said.
Brittany Danielle White said she rushed to the hospital on Wednesday after waking up with unexpected aches. She said living just five minutes from the hospital paid off that day.
"I'm blessed to have a hospital nearby, because I never know what can happen," she said. "I didn't expect any chest pains, so I'm really happy that it was nearby."
Hashmi said the hospital is growing quickly.
"We started off by seeing three or four patients in a 24-hour period," he said. "Now we see about 30 to 40 patients in a 24-hour period in our emergency room. Our operating room volume was about two to three a week. Now, it is over 30 a week."
With about 7,500 patients seen to-date, hospital officials said they are looking forward to an even busier year in 2013.
The hospital is preparing to launch its emergency services in January, adding at least 100 new jobs and providing faster response times in cases of emergency throughout the city. The hospital has hired 175 people during the past year, with more than 150 physicians on staff.