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Baptist Health opens primary care clinic for Spanish-speaking community in Fort Smith

Baptist Health opened a new primary care clinic to help eliminate language barriers for Spanish-speaking residents in the River Valley.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Spanish-speaking residents in the River Valley can now receive healthcare more easily at a recently opened Baptist Health primary care clinic

To help eliminate communication issues in health care, Baptist Health opened La Clínica del Pueblo with staff who speak both English and Spanish.

Baptist Health La Clínica del Pueblo recently opened at 4700 Kelley Highway, Suite B in Fort Smith.

While the clinic is open to anyone, Dr. Wilson Cruz and his staff all speak both languages to allow the patient to speak directly to their healthcare providers instead of depending on a family member to translate. 

“Being able to speak to patients in their own language makes it easier to help them understand the issues with their health and what they need to do,” said Dr. Cruz. 

Dr. Cruz has been practicing medicine in the River Valley for almost 10 years and can treat patients of all ages for a wide variety of health concerns.

The clinic will take patients for adult wellness exams, family medicine, management of acute and chronic illness, preventative health, sick visits, joint injections and treatment of lacerations. 

“The clinic is an asset to the community because a lot of people aren’t able to speak the language, and they aren’t going to any place because they aren’t going to speak anything but English so it has made a big difference," Dr. Cruz said.

Christina Castorena has been seeing Dr. Cruz since her mom was diagnosed with diabetes. She and her mother went through the process years ago to find a doctor who understood her mom. They say the new clinic is a game-changer for families like theirs.

"It’s going to save lives, that’s what it means it’s going to save people’s lives it’s going to have them react to something snd now have somewhere to follow through due to that reaction they’re going to be able to know how to avoid a stroke and avoid below the knee amputations after being diagnosed with diabetes and not being taken care of how to avoid all of these things high blood pressure high cholesterol,” Castorena said. 

La Clínica del Pueblo is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and accepts same-day appointments as well as walk-ins. 

The clinic officially opened Wednesday, Sept. 1, but there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Fort Smith Chamber at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 13. 

If you'd like more information about the services or to make an appointment, call 479-573-7995 or visit the Baptist Health website.

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