BGCT president: Health care in Abilene and Waco

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It was a joy to speak at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene recently. I am grateful for the work and ministry that our medical institutions do in Texas Baptist life. We are blessed to have these wonderful institutions. I am thankful for the work they do and the caring ministry that exemplifies Christ. Be sure and stop by their information table at the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting in Waco Nov. 13-15.

rene maciel headshot130René MacielHendrick Medical Center opened in 1924 as West Texas Baptist Sanitarium through the vision of Millard Jenkins, pastor of First Baptist Church of Abilene.

Throughout its 92-year history, the hospital’s purpose has been “to provide high quality healthcare emphasizing excellence and compassion consistent with the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”



With the Great Depression occurring soon after its founding, the facility began accepting payment with farm animals and agricultural products. A gift from local businessman T.G. Hendrick saved the hospital financially, and it was renamed Hendrick Memorial Hospital.

Hundreds of families moved to nearby Camp Barkley in the 1940s, prompting the hospital to increase the maternity ward to care for the post-war baby boom. Another influx occurred when Dyess Air Force Base was established in 1952. A fund drive allowed the purchase of new equipment and the construction of Parker Hall in 1958 to accommodate the polio epidemic.

Hendrick 350Hendrick Medical Center in AbileneAs the Anderson Wing added 84 rooms and the Meek Wing housed the Children’s Hospital in the 1960s, Hendrick added space for a nursing school and became known as the largest hospital between Fort Worth and El Paso.



In the 1970s, the emergency room expanded to 24/7 service, the physical therapy department was added, and other units expanded. The professional center, offering physicians and services easy access to the hospital, opened with the name changed later to Hendrick Medical Center.

Future decades saw expansions in the labor and delivery unit, pediatrics, cardiac care, a cancer center, day surgery area and a rehabilitation center. Additionally, the service area expanded to cover 22 counties.

In the new millennium, the Patty Hanks School of Nursing opened, and the Hendrick Women’s Health Network was launched. Inpatient satisfaction remained in the 90th percentile in the nation as Hendrick introduced electronic systems to streamline processes and patient communication.


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Project 2010 ushered in the largest expansion to date, bringing the new building to 10 times larger than the original campus. Since then, more expansion occurred. A partnership with Texas Tech University provided a federally qualified health center.

The latest projects include construction of a school of public health with Texas Tech and the free-standing Hendrick Hospice Care Center.

President Tim Lancaster, named in 2004, oversees 522 beds and more than 3,000 staff members.



For more information, visit Hendrick’s website.

Waco is the home of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center–Hillcrest, which started at the prodding in 1903 of James Britton Cranfill, editor of the Baptist Standard.

Hillcrest 350Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Hillcrest in WacoChartered in 1916 largely through the efforts of Pastor Arthur James Barton of First Baptist Church in Waco, Hillcrest opened to serve residents of McLennan County and Central Texas.



In 2009, the doors opened to a 237-bed medical center on a new location at I-35 and Highway 6, including the region’s only dedicated women’s and children’s center and two new medical office buildings. It renovated the original Herring Avenue campus to become the region’s most comprehensive rehabilitation center with a skilled-nursing facility and a ministry wing.

The facility began writing a new chapter in its history with its affiliation with Scott & White Healthcare based in Temple.

When Scott & White Healthcare merged with Baylor Health Care System to form Baylor Scott & White Health in 2013, it assured an even brighter future for the hospital.

In 2014, the first-ever Baylor Scott & White acute care hospital signage was unveiled as Waco’s Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center became Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Hillcrest. It became part of the largest faith-based, not-for-profit health system in Texas, preserving our rich Baptist heritage for decades to come.

As part of one of the premiere health care organizations in the nation, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center–Hillcrest, led by President Glenn Robinson, offers its patients and the communities it serves additional expertise and resources.

While continuing to focus on providing quality care to patients in the hospital, Hillcrest also is investing in keeping the community well by collaborating with other health care providers, physicians, community groups, area employers and others to enhance the value of the health care services.

The hospital also is focused on strengthening its long-held ties to Baylor University. This important relationship has resulted in unique programs to benefit student athletes and, Hillcrest is the provider of choice for University students’ emergency health care needs.

To find out more, visit Hillcrest’s website.

René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and president of the Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.


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