July 19, 2021

Congressman Castro Announces Over $1 Million for San Antonio Health Care Projects to Expand Telemedicine

Community Projects for University Health System and St. Mary’s University are included in Annual House Appropriations Spending Bill

WASHINGTON – Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced more than $1.1 million for San Antonio health care projects that will improve traditional and telehealth capabilities. Congressman Castro submitted these projects on behalf of St. Mary’s University and University Health System to the House Appropriations Committee for federal funding. Each project is included in the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill.

Specifically, St. Mary’s University will receive $875,000 for the Family Life Center Renovation project, and University Health System will receive $300,000 for the Acute Care Hospital at Home project.

“The well-being of the San Antonio community depends on access to quality health care services,” said Congressman Castro. “COVID has demonstrated the critical importance of telemedicine, and I submitted these community projects to invest more the $1 million to expand San Antonio’s ability to reach underserved patients remotely. The pandemic has also exposed deep disparities in health care access, which I hope this federal funding can help address. To meet the increased needs for health services in San Antonio, I’m pleased to see these projects included in the annual spending bill.”

“Since 1894, St. Mary’s University has served its West Side neighbors, particularly those who are most in need of our care,” said St. Mary’s University President Thomas Mengler. “Renovation of our Family Life Center will better enable St. Mary’s to provide West Side families with essential mental health services.”

 “We want to thank Congressman Castro for including funding for the program in the Labor, HHS budget which will allow us to provide the right care at the right location for our patients,” said University Health President and CEO George B. Hernandez, Jr. “The Congressman has been a champion of health care and we value our partnership with him. At University Health we are focused on continual improvement and innovation to advance our mission to provide high quality, compassionate care. The Hospital at Home program is a way for us to truly engage patients and families as partners in their health care, by offering them the option of receiving hospital-level care in the comfort of their homes. In addition to improving the experience of our patients, we are impressed by recent studies showing this innovative program can also result in better clinical outcomes and reduced health care costs, while optimizing the use of hospital beds.”


St. Mary’s University’s Family Life Center Renovation (FLC) project will meet the dramatically increased needs for mental health services for families of underserved populations in San Antonio’s Westside. Renovating the Family Life Center (FLC) will improve the capacity for traditional and telemedicine health appointments critical for reaching school-age children and working families.  

University Health System’s Acute Care Hospital at Home project will assist the Bexar County Hospital District (BCHD) with purchasing telemedicine equipment to treat medically underserved patients remotely, in the comfort of their homes. This project will ensure patients receive high level, quality care at home, recover comfortably, experience a smooth transition once discharged, and will increase the capacity of health care services for Bexar County and South Texas residents. 

The first patient admitted to University Health Hospital at Home program was a new mom who was able to spend the final day of her hospitalization at home with her new baby and husband. She commented:

"I felt like the baby latched on and was calmer here at home. I think he was picking up on my anxiety when I was in the hospital. He slept so good and so did we. It was so easy to get my vitals and call them to the nurse. I would rather do that then get woken every 4 hours for vitals. You do not get rest in the hospital. Our family came to see us sooner and it was nice they didn't have to go all the way to the hospital. The program is amazing. I had a great experience in the unit and the visits at home."