ATHENS, Texas (KETK) — Residents of Athens and nearby towns now have more access to emergency medical care with the opening of a new CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances emergency care center and expanded clinic in Athens.

The clinic is now open to the public after a ribbon cutting and a blessing were held Thursday for the facility.

The emergency care center is more than 10,000 square feet and has more than a dozen exam rooms, trauma rooms, a full-service imaging center and a new helipad. The center is located at 1509 South Palestine Street.

“We are here to be with you at your most critical moments,” said Heather Haimes, nursing director of Athens emergency care center. “We have everything we need to allow for patients to stay in our community to get the care they need.”

At the event, Dr. Shaun York, emergency department medical director, shared how CHRISTUS’ emergency care recently saved his son’s life. York said that the same care his son received in Tyler is now available in Athens, a release stated.

“We are able to take care of anything and everyone who walks through that door. They don’t even have to get to the door – you get anywhere near that door, and we are going to take care of you,” York said. “In emergency care, minutes mean lives, and having this facility here in Athens means less time traveling, less time waiting, and more time getting the care you need.”

Expanding the clinic will allow for more specialists to be brought in and expand the ability to care for more complex diagnoses, Dr. Steven Keuer, president of CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic said.

“We are passionate about increasing access to health care for patients across East Texas,” Keuer said. “Both of these facilities, the emergency center and the clinic, reflects our commitment to provide access for urgent and more complex conditions.”