Craddick details big session for health care in Midland

State Rep. Tom Craddick told the Midland County Republican Women this week that the 2021 legislative session was big for health care in the city.

From expansion of the Texas Tech Physician Assistants’ program at Midland College, to the money earmarked for a mental health facility between Midland and Odessa to a surgical residency, health care might have been the biggest benefactor in Midland and around the Permian Basin.

Craddick talked about the PA program that he said has expanded from 20 students to 64 slots each year.

“We have 1,900 applicants for those 64 slots,” Craddick told the MCRW on Wednesday at Midland Country Club. “And I passed a bill to increase it from 64 to 120 slots.”

Craddick referenced the $18 million appropriated for the expansion of the PA program building on the northside of the Midland College campus (construction is currently taking place). He also said that a key feature of the expansion will be a lab that makes the PA program “one of the few in the country that has all the lab facilities here.”

$40 million for mental health

Craddick told the MCRW audience that it was his wife Nadine who connected with the wife of the speaker of the Texas House to make a $40 million commitment to mental health in Midland-Odessa possible.

He said the money that will help fund the building of a mental health facility between Midland and Odessa came from money the federal government gave to the state through the American Rescue Plan.

“None of (the money) went to individual districts, except ours,” Craddick said.

Craddick said. “The two of them got us our $40 million.”

A 100-bed facility is what Craddick said is planned and he added that several foundations in Midland have already offered help to provide what’s needed to fulfill the hospital.

“The hospital is set to be the only (mental health) hospital in this area,” Craddick said. “Lubbock doesn’t have one, San Angelo doesn’t have one. Nobody has one. That will take care of all the Permian Basin.”

Surgical program set for Midland

Lastly, Craddick said a surgical program is coming to Midland-Odessa as a result of the legislative session. It will be a program expected to bring more Texas Tech residents to local medical facilities.

“We have never been able to do it, Craddick said. “We will have more people in the area surgically than we’ve ever had before.”

Other legislative highlights, according to Craddick

  • If Texas was its own country, it would have the ninth-largest economy in the world. “And we’re bigger than Russia with or without Ukraine”;
  • The legislature appropriated $2.9 billion for border and $1 billion for the wall;
  • Lawmakers approved a one-time supplemental payment to retired teachers and school district retirees. “I think it’s a sin for us to not be paying our teachers, and that they’re struggling on a retirement. … We are spending $250 billion in a two-year period. I think we can take care of retired teachers.”
  •  Regarding “constitutional carry” which became state law, Craddick said the calls to his office were 10 to 1 in favor.

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