South Texas Health System is recognized for its reputation for excellence in providing quality healthcare to the Rio Grande Valley. As a leading hospital system in the Rio Grande Valley, STHS offers specialized services in behavioral health, cardiovascular care, emergency medicine, neuroscience, oncology, pediatric care, transplant and women’s services, as well as adult and pediatric rehabilitation.

South Texas Health System’s facilities include Edinburg Children’s Hospital, Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Edinburg Regional Rehab Center, McAllen Medical Center, McAllen Heart Hospital and Cornerstone Regional Hospital.

Valley Baptist Medical Center is the primary referral hospital for comprehensive and subspecialty care in South Texas. Named one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation –and the only one south of Houston – for saving lives and reducing complications in heart patients, by Thomson Healthcare.This 450-bed general hospital and Level III Trauma Center provides state-of-the-art medical, surgical, obstetric, and pediatric care. Capabilities include medical, cardiovascular, surgical, neurological, and newborn/pediatric intensive care; air ambulance transportation; cardiac catheterization with interventional and electro physiology capabilities; active cardiovascular, general, neurosurgery, ophthalmic, orthopedic, plastic, and urological surgery services; pulmonary and gastrointestinal endoscopy; hemodialysis; outpatient multispecialty diabetes care; wound care services; and hospice care. VBMC’s rehabilitation facility provides inpatient and outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech/language therapy. Radiology services include CT, MRI, sonigraphy, nuclear medicine, interventional radiology, and radiation therapy. And there’s no need to leave the hospital for the best meal in town; VBMC’s new Magnolia Grill features Harlingen’s finest gourmet cuisine.
UT Health Science Center at San Antonio mission is to develop programs of excellence in medical education and research and bring the considerable educational and clinical care resources of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley.

The Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) is an innovative multi-site academic community based in Brownsville, Harlingen and Edinburg. It consists of a Medical Education and a Research Division and a School of Public Health. Besides providing 3rd and 4th year medical education, the research and public health RAHC programs have been designed to address the diseases and public health issues that disproportionately afflict our region’s population.


  • $25 million campus, inaugurated in 2002.
  • $20 million campus, inaugurated in 2006.
  • $25.5 million Teaching/ Learning Lab to house the Harlingen Veterans Healthcare Center and the U.S. Hispanic Nutrition Research and Education Center, to be inaugurated in 2007.

Medical Students

  • 3 classes have graduated from the ACGME accredited Internal Medicine Program.
  • Recent Internal Medicine resident graduates have a 100% pass rate
  • 75% of recent Internal Medicine graduates reside in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • 70% of recent Internal Medicine graduates are bilingual.
  • Over 400 medical students have completed at least one clinical rotation at the RAHC.
  • RAHC rotations are highly regarded by UTHSCSA faculty and students.


  • The RAHC enjoys widespread community support
  • Over 250 community-based practitioners have been qualified as clinical faculty of the RAHC
  • Grants and foundation awards have enhanced the educational experiences at the RAHC.

Producing Doctors for the Rio Grande Valley

  • 2002 – 2003: 8 Residents
  • 2003 – 2004: 12 Residents, 4 Graduates
  • 2004 – 2005: 13 Residents, 1 Chief Resident, 4 Graduates
  • 2005 – 2006: 15 Residents, 1 Chief Resident, 4 Graduates
  • 2006 – 2007: 16 Residents, 5 graduates (projected)
  • 1 Graduate currently practices Internal Medicine in the Rio Grande Valley
  • 3 Graduates currently practice Family/Community Medicine
A satellite outpatient clinic of The Department of Veterans Affairs, South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS), which provides ambulatory/primary care services to veterans. A new 34,000 square foot facility opened November 19, 2007 with 47 full- or part-time medial professionals.

Harlingen’s VA Outpatient Clinic offers primary care, mental health, social work, optometry, nutrition; emergency care and short stay admissions.

New services available at the new center include: audiology, dental, physical therapy, orthotics, podiatry, spinal cord injury care, mental health (including PTSD treatment) minor procedures, pharmacy, laboratory, digital X-ray, CT scan, diabetic retinal imaging, and pulmonary function testing.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ceremonially broke ground April 6, 2009 for the three-story, 120,000 square-feet, $40 million Harlingen Ambulatory Surgery and Specialty Outpatient Center.

This new center will be a major educational site for UT Health Science Center medical residents and students based on the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen.

Su Clinica Familiar – The primary ambulatory medicine site is Su Clinica Familiar, a JCAHO-accredited community health center providing longitudinal care for primarily indigent residents of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Su Clinica Familiar has convenient on-site radiology, laboratory, and pharmacy services.

Valley Diagnostic Center – Valley Diagnostic Center is a group practice of subspecialists and general internists housed in a modern office center with on-site laboratory and radiology services located next to Valley Baptist Medical Center.

For a second year in a row, the Harlingen Medical Center was named one of the Top 100 Hospitals for Cardiovascular Care by Thomson Reuters. The Harlingen Medical Center is one of three Texas hospitals to receive this recognition.

Harlingen Medical Center’s services include:

  • 24-hour Emergency Center designed and equipped to handle nearly all situations, whether it’s a broken bone, a fever or a heart attack.
  • High quality care in cardiovascular services, neurology, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology.
    • Family members allowed 24-hour access to the patient. A sleeper bed for an overnight visitor has been incorporated into every room.
    • Educational and outreach programs to improve the health of the community.
    • All private rooms designed and equipped for every stage of treatment.
South Texas Emergency Care Foundation, Inc., is a community owned, not-for-profit organization that qualifies for exemption as a charitable organization under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. STEC is governed by a board of directors who are selected from the communities who are members of the organization.

The Foundation is accredited by the “Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems”. The Foundation is the only CAMTS accredited EMS system based south of San Antonio. Accreditation is important for our patients and our communities as it shows that the Foundation maintains the highest level of patient care and safety. There are approximately 125 CAMTS accredited programs in the US and Canada.

Air and ground services are provided Brownsville, Harlingen, La Feria, Los Fresnos, McAllen, Palm Valley, Port Isabel, Primera, Raymondville, Rio Hondo, San Benito, Santa Rosa, and Weslaco and the towns of Combes, Rancho Viejo, and South Padre Island. Service is also provided to the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy, as well as the unincorporated areas of other counties in South Texas. Fixed wing services are provided nation-wide and to Mexico and Canada.

The Valley AirCare Rotorwing Division began operations on Feb. 1, 1995, and has transported more than 4,500 citizens of South Texas and Northern Mexico since its inception. For long distance flights, Valley AirCare employs a fleet of medically configured, pressurized and unpressurized piston, and jet aircraft, including a Learjet capable of flying at more than 500 miles per hour. Valley AirCare is a member of the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), Texas AAMS, and other national and state organizations.

The Rotorwing Division offers rapid air medical transportation by helicopter throughout South Texas within a 150-mile radius of Harlingen, its home base. The helicopter is equipped and licensed at the Mobile Intensive Care Unit level by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Although primarily designed for scene response to critically ill and injured patients, it is also available on request for inter-facility transfer of critically ill and intensive care patients. The American Eurocopter AS350 B2 helicopter has a cruising speed of over 130 mph, is equipped with night vision goggles, the “Outerlink” GPS Tracking System and a moving map system using satellite.

The Fixed Wing Division provides air medical services to and from the Rio Grande Valley to any point in the continental U.S., Mexico and Canada and has transported over 2,400 patients since operations began. Fixed wing aircraft are especially useful for patients who must be flown long distances to receive specialized care such as at burn centers like Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio or Galveston’s UTMB. In addition, it provides rapid air evacuation to Valley hospitals for citizens and visitors to Mexico who become ill or injured. The Fixed Wing Division flies into Mexico using jets and turboprop aircraft and brings the critically ill and injured to hospitals in the United States.

Valley AirCare fixed wing operations are licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services as Mobile Intensive Care Units. Our CAMTS accreditation and flight medical credentials meet or exceed all requirements of the air medical industry and our staff is committed to providing the highest level of patient care.

The Ground Transportation Division provides the best possible ground transportation to its community and citizens. The Ground Division consists of the most technologically advanced equipment and modern fleet, combined with a staff of highly trained, dedicated professionals making STEC one of the top EMS services in the State of Texas.

911 Ambulance Services has a fleet of ambulances is strategically located in the area to facilitate efficient response times to the communities and the vast rural area served by the Foundation. 911 emergency transportation services are provided by contract with local cities and Cameron County. Since commencing operations over 30 years ago, the ground ambulances have responded to over 340,000 calls for help.

Non-emergency Ambulance Services provides non-emergency ambulance transportation to hospitals, nursing homes, patients at home and other healthcare facilities. Many patients need medical attention and transportation to and from medical facilities even though their condition may not require an emergency response. While most patient transfers are in the local area, some are made to destinations outside of the Valley to distant parts of the State.

Critical Care Transport is designed to transport patients with specialized needs, usually from one medical facility to another on an emergency basis. These patients are typically in an emergency care unit such as Intensive Care at a Valley hospital. When it is necessary to move these patients to another facility, a specialized team must be sent. The team, comprised of a Critical Care Registered Nurse, a Paramedic and an Emergency Medical Technician (if needed) responds in a specially equipped vehicle. The patient is then transported to the destination hospital.